Whiplash

Whiplash:
A Pain In The Neck- Causes, Symptoms and Recovery

Whiplash is a unique category of neck pain that is often the result of trauma such as a car accident. It is typically related to the rapid forward and backward movement of the neck. With this type of neck pain, there are multiple other variables that can be involved that can contribute to its severity, recovery time, and its overall impact on your life.

Common Whiplash Symptoms:

  • Stiffness to neck, arms, upper back, and even the face

  • Numbness into arms, neck and upper back

  • Headache, dizziness, nausea

  • Generalized weakness but more with head and neck

  • Altered sleeping habits and patterns

  • Difficulty with concentration

What Causes Whiplash?

  • Motor vehicle accident, typically a rear-ending or front of car type impact

  • Rapid forward and backward motion of the head as often sustained in football or other high energy contact sports, resulting in a whiplash headache 

How Can A Physical Therapist Help Me Recover From Whiplash?

If you are experiencing whiplash symptoms, it is best to visit a physical therapist as soon as possible. A physical therapist can determine the severity of your whiplash and can provide helpful treatments to speed up your recovery time. Physical therapy for whiplash after a car accident can greatly reduce your pain and offer 

Your physical therapist may recommend: 

  • Postural training

  • Manual therapy techniques to the cervical spine

  • Specific corrective exercise to address neck dysfunction and weakness

  • During acute stages, general light exercise such as walking may be recommended 

  • Medication and other modalities such as ice or heat may be necessary to provide whiplash headache pain relief 

  • Relaxation techniques such as “belly breathing”

Every individual and every episode of neck pain is very unique. The treatment suggestions for your physical therapy whiplash recovery program listed above include several options to try and see how they may improve your situation.

In addition, a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify specific features about your whiplash headache and how to best manage it during your physical therapy treatment for whiplash post car accident. 

Understanding as much as possible about your current condition is a very important aspect of the recovery process and will empower you to take the necessary steps to get back to your normal activities with as little discomfort as possible.

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