Each year in Canada, whiplash injuries account for about 2 million insurance claims and cause many cases of chronic pain.
There are numerous myths about whiplash, which, according to MedicineNet is “a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck.” For example, many people assume whiplash is caused only by car accidents and is something you “get over” with time. Neither of these assumptions are true. On the contrary…
1. Whiplash can be caused by any blow that forces one’s neck to jerk forward and backward. While the condition is most often caused by motor vehicle accidents, it can also be caused by physical abuse, amusement park rides, and sports-related injuries.
2. Whiplash does not necessarily heal on its own. Usually it requires treatment from a healthcare professional like a physiotherapist.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Wondering if you have whiplash? Understanding its symptoms will help you determine whether or not you may have the condition. According to PhysioWorks, here are a few symptoms of whiplash:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck
- Difficulty hearing
- Visual disturbances
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Altered sensation
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a physiotherapist or your GP to determine if whiplash is at the root of your health concerns.
How a Physiotherapist Treats Whiplash
There are several treatment options for individuals with whiplash. They include but are not limited to:
- Chiropractic care
- Taking OTC pain relievers and using heat/ice packs to control pain
Let’s take a closer look at how physiotherapy treats whiplash and prevents chronic pain from developing in patients in the future.
A physiotherapist’s aim when treating whiplash is to…
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Strengthen the muscles of the neck and upper back
- Restore range of motion
- Improve neck posture
- Eliminate vertigo (dizziness)
A physiotherapist may use massage therapy, electrotherapy, vestibular rehabilitation (if dizziness is present), exercise instruction, education on the injury, and fine neck muscle and proprioception retraining programs when treating whiplash.
Physiotherapy may be used is conjunction with other therapies. Most physiotherapists routinely work alongside other healthcare practitioners to help patients reach their health goals.
“Physical therapy is an effective treatment option for whiplash, especially when combined with other treatments such as bracing and medications.” — Physical Therapy for Whiplash
Do You Have Whiplash? A Physiotherapist Can Help You.
Got whiplash? Consider getting help from a physiotherapist. If you live near Winnipeg, reach out to the physiotherapy team at Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics to set up an evaluation.