Whiplash is most commonly caused by car accidents. The usual symptoms are felt in the neck a
nd shoulders. Often symptoms of whiplash don’t appear until 6-12 hours later and they often continue to get worse in the days after the injury. Sometimes, it may even take a few days for any symptoms to show.
Common symptoms of whiplash are neck pain and stiffness, tenderness along the back of the neck, loss of movement in the neck, and headaches. Other symptoms can include pain in the lower back, pains or numbness, or paraesthesia (pins and needles), in the arms or hands,muscle spasms, dizziness, tiredness, difficulty in swallowing and ringing in the ears(tinnitus).
Usually, symptoms begin to improve after a few days and in around 60% of cases, symptoms completely disappear after four weeks. In the vast majority of cases symptoms will resolve in time and it is not uncommon for this to take several months.
The main goals of physiotherapy following whiplash are to;
- Improve your function
- Relieve you symptoms
- Get you back to normal activity as quickly as possible
If you have had a whiplash and do not have an exercise program please arrange an appointment as quickly as possible. It is well documented that gentle exercises are very important in recovery following whiplash.
Physiotherapy treatment may also include:
- Soft tissue techniques
- TENS for pain relief
- Joint mobilisation
- Exercises to build strength in the neck muscles
- Advice and education.
Neck pain is a common condition that can be very disabling. It can often refer pain into the shoulder, down the arm or into the head. There are many causes of neck pain; like ‘whiplash’ or sporting injury, sustained poor postures at work, long distance driving in poor posture, stiffness in the neck joints or arthritis in the joints of the neck. Muscles, joints or nerves in the neck can be affected and quite often it’s a combination of all three.
The specific structures causing neck pain can be identified at assessment. Research suggests that physiotherapists are very good at identifying the exact area responsible for a patients pain; once identified this area can be treated appropriately.
Treatment can consist of;
- Mobilising/ manipulating stiff joints.
- Soft tissue/ trigger point release.
- Exercise to mobilise and strengthen muscles around the neck
- Postural education and advice to maintain improvement and prevent re-occurrence.
- Ergonomic assessment and advice