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Whiplash

March 28, 2022
Sporting Injuries can be a cause of whiplash too

Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) describes injuries to the tendons, muscles and soft tissues in the neck. It is caused by a sudden acceleration-deceleration movement. Where the head is suddenly and vigorously jolted forwards and backwards, or even sideways. Commonly, this is seen in motor vehicle accidents, but can also occur in sports accidents, trauma, falls or even concert head banging.

Initially, following a whiplash injury, the neck strain/tension relates to acute pain from soft tissue injury to muscles, tendons and ligaments which can bring about:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion 
  • Muscle tension

Other symptoms:

  • Headaches, commonly around the base of the skull
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Tenderness extending into the shoulder, upper back or arms
  • General fatigue 
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Changes in vision
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Mood disturbances 
  • Ringing in the ears 

Depending on how the injury occurred and your initial presentation you may be encouraged to get a scan. Following this, starting physiotherapy early is for identifying any red flags, reducing symptoms and getting you on the road to recovery. Sometimes symptoms do not appear for hours or even days after, so seeking help early regardless is a good idea.

The recovery pathway for whiplash can be quite variable and unpredictable. In most cases, symptoms are primarily acute, with a good response initially and full recovery within a few days to a few weeks. However, sometimes symptoms can become chronic, with long term pain and disability. Luckily - early physiotherapy intervention has been shown to reduce long term symptoms, as studies have showed that one month follow up of function and symptoms is a predictor of long term outcomes. 

Physio treatment focuses on the following:

  • Reduce pain in the neck, head and shoulders
  • Reduce headaches 
  • Regain normal joint range of motion 
  • Regain normal muscle length and tension 
  • Improve posture
  • Strengthen muscles of the neck and upper back
  • Improve proprioception and motor control 
  • Resolve any neural symptoms 
  • Minimise the chance of long term or future neck pain and symptoms 
  • Make sure you can do all the things you love and did before the injury without any limitations

If you or someone you know is suspected of having a whiplash injury, early invention is key. Contact us for a comprehensive assessment and treatment by calling 9791 8961 or book online buy clicking on our "Book online" button on the home page.

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