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The Importance of Treating Whiplash with Physiotherapy After a Motor Vehicle Accident

A car accident can cause a number of painful, unpleasant injuries to the spine, neck, and other parts of the body. Whiplash is an especially common injury following a car accident, and can
result in damage of the soft tissues. Fortunately, whiplash can be treated by professional physiotherapists.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the head and neck are quickly snapped forwards and then backwards. It results in the tearing and stretching of soft tissue and tendons in the neck, back, and other body parts.

What are the Symptoms?

At first, whiplash can present itself as mild pain in the neck. Within a few hours, it can present more severe symptoms, like shoulder and arm pain, tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, back pain and even visual disturbances.

How Is Whiplash Treated with Physiotherapy?

The goal of treating whiplash with physiotherapy is to reduce inflammation and regain strength in the neck and spine. For optimal healing and performance, physiotherapists may use both active and passive physiotherapy to treat whiplash:

•Active Physiotherapy: With active physiotherapy, your physiotherapist might help improve your injury with stretching, gentle shoulder and neck exercises, and corrective posture exercises. These exercises are designed to promote healing of the neck and back tissue, encourage blood circulation, and reduce muscle spasms.

•Passive Physiotherapy: Whether a physiotherapist uses active, passive, or both forms of physiotherapy to treat whiplash depends on the individual needs of the patient. Passive exercises may include icing and heating the affected area, deep tissue massages to break down muscle tension, and an ultrasound to reduce muscle spasms and relieve pain.

What Are Some Complications Associated with Whiplash?

Unfortunately, whiplash symptoms can worsen over time, and develop into much more serious injuries. Here are a few injuries to watch out for if your pain worsens over time:

Concussion. The impact of whiplash can occasionally cause a concussion. If you are experiencing inexplicable confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, or migraines, you may want to have your symptoms checked out by a medical professional.

Chronic Headaches. Some victims of whiplash experience chronic headaches or migraines for years after their car accident.

Herniated Disc. This injury involves a problem with the rubbery disk that separates your vertebrae. Most herniated discs occur in the lower back, and cause arm or leg pain, weakness in the muscles, and numbness or tingling in the affected body part.

If you have experienced whiplash, consider talking to a professional physiotherapist to determine if this is the right method of therapy for you.

At Pro Care Physiotherapy, our professional team of physiotherapists can help people with injuries, pain, stiffness, post-surgery recovery, weakness, and other movement and musculoskeletal problems. Our physiotherapy sessions are tailored to your personal needs, with the goal of getting you back to your pre-injury lifestyle as soon as possible while preventing the likelihood of a recurrence.

For more information, get in touch with us today.

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