Whiplash is a common injury that occurs from automobile accidents. There are many ways that doctors treat whiplash, and physiotherapy has been shown to provide relief for those who suffer from its many symptoms.
Physiotherapy treatments consist of a wide range of modalities and tools, including exercises, stretches, and manual therapy. Knowing how orthopedic physiotherapy can treat whiplash helps you find the treatment that provides lasting relief.
Whiplash occurs when the neck is forced to move into a position that is outside of its normal range of motion. This leads to tight muscles and pain in most cases.
When the head moves in one direction and is quickly pulled back in the opposite direction (such as when a person is rear-ended in an automobile), injury occurs to the soft tissues and leads to whiplash symptoms.
The ligaments are lengthened and can tear, and nerve damage can occur. This contributes to pain symptoms and movement limitations.
Severity Of Whiplash
In addition to the neck, whiplash can affect muscles of the head, shoulders, chest, and arms. Symptoms can arise long after an accident has occurred.
Common signs of whiplash include pain, headaches, and dizziness. Some symptoms can disappear only to return again.
More severe cases of whiplash are indicated by severe neck pain, tingling or numbness, muscle weakness, and pain that radiates down the arms.
There are different grades of whiplash. Grade 0 whiplash lacks any physical symptoms. The presence of pain and physical signs of trauma determine the grade of whiplash. A grade 4 whiplash consists of dislocation, fracture, or spinal cord injury.
Treating whiplash begins with a comprehensive physical assessment of the head and neck. An X-ray can determine the presence of any fractures, and imaging tests can be used to identify other signs of injury.
Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for whiplash. But it must be applied as early as possible to ensure the best results. The recovery period can be as little as a few weeks depending on the severity of the injury.
Common physiotherapy treatments for whiplash include manual therapy, ultrasound treatments, and electrical stimulation and mainly exercise therapy to improve range of motion of neck and thoracic spine as well as strengthening deep neck muscles and postural muscles to increase stability and ability to sit, stand and walk longer . Active rehabilitation is the most important part of treatment after any whiplash injury. Cold treatments and joint mobilizations commonly are employed to help patients recover from whiplash.
The goal of your physiotherapist is to eliminate muscle spasms or trigger points, while normalizing joint range of motion and allowing the muscles and connective tissue to achieve proper function.
Physiotherapy helps patients progress into low-intensity exercises that restore the muscles’ ability to stabilize the joints and support postural alignment of the neck shoulders and back.
Whiplash causes a wide range of symptoms. Treating whiplash requires the proper tools and modalities to provide lasting relief and improved function.
Physiotherapy is an effective way to treat whiplash so that you can overcome your injury and return to your daily activities.