Whiplash InjuryPain Conditions
Whiplash is a common neck condition that occurs as a result of a sudden backwards-forwards motion of the head, often associated with car accidents. This type of injury can stretch the muscles and ligaments as the neck moves out of its normal range of motion. Women are more likely to experience whiplash than men, presumably because men’s necks are usually stronger.
Causes Of Whiplash
In addition to injuries resulting from vehicular accidents (most commonly rear-end collisions), whiplash can occur from injuries suffered during:
- Roller coaster rides
- Contact sports
- Physical abuse
Symptoms Of Whiplash
Patients with whiplash usually develop some symptoms within 24 hours of the injury. It is not unusual, however, for other symptoms to appear, or for symptoms to worsen, weeks after the original injury. Physical injuries after whiplash may include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Headaches, especially at the base of skull
- Blurred vision
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears
A wide range of cognitive or emotional symptoms may also result from whiplash. These include:
- Concentration difficulties
- Memory problems
- Sleep disturbances
- Depression, anxiety, irritability
Treatment Of Whiplash
Most patients recover from whiplash injuries within 4 to 6 weeks through the help of conservative treatments, such as applying ice to the area and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. More severe cases of whiplash may require corticosteroid injections or the use of a cervical collar for several hours during the day to immobilize the neck. It is important to wear a cervical collar for limited periods of time and only under medical guidance.
Patients with whiplash should be carefully evaluated by their physicians before engaging in any physical therapy for the condition. While gentle massage, electrical stimulation or ultrasound treatments can provide significant relief, exercise, even mild exercise, may be dangerous if the patient has also suffered a concussion.
Comprehensive Care For Whiplash
Treatment of whiplash focuses on reducing pain and increasing range of motion. Resting the area and applying ice are usually the first remedies. Certain movement therapies may also be helpful, but should only be used if a doctor recommends them. Whiplash results in pain, stiff neck, and sometimes headaches. Therefore, it’s important to work with a doctor who can provide pain relief and also offer full-body recovery advice. The team at Genesis offers whiplash care that offers both immediate and long-term relief.
Additional Treatments For Whiplash
- Deep tissue massage
- Cold therapy
- Heat therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Ultrasound therapy
Once patients have responded sufficiently to treatment to have regained mobility, they are usually advised to begin gentle stretching and rotating exercises on their own. A mild exercise routine, accompanied by regular medical supervision, should effectively eliminate any residual pain and restore full cervical range of motion.