What is Whiplash?
Click Here for a video explaining what Whiplash is.
Have you experienced a car accident that involved a quick forward/backwards jerking of your head? If so, you may likely be experiencing whiplash. These forces may cause damage to muscles, ligaments, and joints in the spine. In rare cases, bone fractures and dislocations may be present – the Canadian C-Spine Rule can help determine whether x-rays are warranted. Visit your doctor to help identify possible cases of serious injury.
Common symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, and shoulder and lower back pain. As a result, people may also feel frustrated from missing time from work, sports, or hobbies. The good news is that most people can recover from whiplash injuries following proper rehab principles.
When will I get better?
Some people recover well after a few weeks while others may take several months. Factors that can influence recovery include age, initial severity of pain, lifestyle demands, and seeking treatment from a health care provider (physiotherapy specifics to be discussed later!).
How can I help myself?
Gentle pain-free neck movement up/down and left/right as far as you can throughout the day will help prevent stiffness. Initially, it can also be beneficial to limit aggravating activities at work, recreational activities, and at home in order to allow your body to heal. However, research shows those who gradually return to normal daily activity as much as possible have better outcomes than those who take longer time off of work/activities. Physiotherapists can assist you with setting proper guidelines for return to activity.
How will physiotherapy help me?
Physiotherapy will help promote healing of specific muscles and proper posture in daily activities through personalized exercises and hands-on treatment. We can also provide education on workplace ergonomics, comfortable sleep positions, and self pain management techniques.
One of my favourite postural exercises is a posture reset against a wall.
Begin by standing against a wall and making contact with 3 body parts:
2) shoulder blades – gently squeeze your shoulder blades together
3) and the back of your head – gently tuck your chin in with a small nod
Hold this position for 5 seconds while breathing comfortably, then relax your muscles. Repeat 10 times. This exercise aims to improve the endurance of muscles to promote good and sustainable posture.
If this exercise is painful, readjust to a tolerable amount of neck and shoulder movement even if they do not make contact with the wall.
If you would like to discuss your car accident, or seek professional advice for your whiplash, you can book with the author of this blog here –Book Online Now!
The University of Queensland (2015). https://maic.qld.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Whiplash-Injury-Recovery-booklet-2015.pdf
Brukner, P. & Khan, K. (2012). Clinical Sports Medicine, 4th ed. Sydney: McGraw-Hill Australia.