What is Whiplash, and When Should It Be Treated?

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Injuries caused by whiplash can create long-term suffering for those affected by them. There are at least 3 million new cases of whiplash each year, and more than half of those with whiplash ultimately experience chronic symptoms.

“Whiplash–a soft tissue injury to the neck–is also called neck sprain or neck strain. It is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck, usually because of sudden extension and flexion,” stated the National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NIND). 

People often develop whiplash after being involved in an automobile accident, although that is not the only cause of whiplash. Specific symptoms, such as a sore neck, are indicative of whiplash, but they don’t automatically mean you have a whiplash injury. 

These Symptoms Point to Whiplash

Not everyone who has whiplash is aware of their condition. According to the NIND, symptoms of whiplash include: 

— Neck pain

— Neck stiffness

— Injuries to the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries)

— Headache

— Dizziness

— Burning or prickling (paresthesias)

— Shoulder or back pain

If you have any of these symptoms, consider checking in with your general doctor or a physiotherapist about whether or not whiplash is the cause. 

Is It Ever Too Late to Seek Treatment for Whiplash Symptoms? 

If you know you are suffering from whiplash, the best thing you can do is seek treatment. Whiplash can improve on its own, but this isn’t always the case. When pursuing treatment for whiplash, timing is important. The sooner you can start receiving treatment to restore range of motion and get pain relief, the better. 

If you’ve had symptoms of whiplash for months or even years and haven’t sought treatment yet, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out for medical help now. Even if you’re long overdue for getting your whiplash symptoms treated, contact a physiotherapy clinic or make an appointment with your general physician to discuss your treatment options. 

If You Have Whiplash, a Physiotherapist Can Help

In addition to your general practitioner, a physiotherapist can help you heal from whiplash and get relief from your symptoms. “(Physiotherapy) can help you feel better and may prevent further injury,” stated the Mayo Clinic. “Your (physiotherapist) will guide you through exercises to strengthen your muscles, improve posture and restore normal movement.” Call a physiotherapy clinic near you to discuss treatment options for whiplash — even a long-term case of it.

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