Whiplash is an acceleration/deceleration injury that is common in motor vehicle accidents and contact sports. Whiplash is caused by a the head being suddenly thrust backward or forwards on impact resulting in injury to structures in the neck.
There is normally minimal or no pain at the time of the incident, however over the next 2-3 days the pain gradually increases. Pain is normally experienced in the neck however pain can be felt in the head and shoulders. You may experience decreased movement in your neck and increased pain with movement. The type of pain can vary from sharp pain to a dull ache. The pain can occur in various areas of the neck such as in the center of the neck, on both sides, or even just on the one side. It may be associated with headaches or pain radiating down into the arm. You may experience decreased movement in your neck and increased pain with movement. The type of pain can vary from sharp pain to a dull ache.
If you are experiencing this kind of pain you should consult your doctor or physiotherapist as soon as possible.
You should NOT continue to exercise or perform activities that aggravate your pain as you may be doing more damage a delay your recovery.
Low to moderate grade whiplash usually doesn’t have any long term impacts as long as it is diagnosed correctly and treated appropriately. With appropriate treatment it will normally settle in a couple of weeks to months.
Severe cases can sometimes lead to cervical (neck) disc degeneration and joint damage, this results in long-term mobility and pain problems.
Initial management will involve diagnosing the problem and determining the severity of injury. This involves a series of tests performed by your Physiotherapist or doctor and may require a scan such as x-ray, MRI, CT. Once the diagnosis is made an appropriate treatment plan will be developed with you for your injury. This may initially involve techniques to help reduce and manage your pain, and then when pain allows you will be provided with stretches and exercises to help restore normal strength and function to allow you to return to your normal activities and reduce the risk of re-injury.
The team at Nowra Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic are all trained and experienced in the latest methods of whiplash management. If you suspect you have whiplash please call on 4423 5757 to make an appointment to see one of our Physiotherapists today.