An injury caused by excessive force, whiplash occurs when the neck is violently whipped back and forth. This is most likely to happen in a rear-end vehicle accident, but it can also be caused by physical abuse, a sporting mishap and other neck trauma. Also referred to as a neck sprain or neck strain, whiplash can seriously affect your mobility for the long-haul if it’s not properly treated right away.
Initially, you won’t know whether or not you have whiplash until about 24 hours later when the symptoms begin affecting you. It’s common to experience pain with neck movement, stiffness, lack of neck mobility, headaches at the base of the neck, tenderness in the shoulders, arms and upper back, fatigue, dizziness, and tingling or numbness in the arms. While these might be clear signs of whiplash, there are other, not-so-obvious symptoms you can experience. Those include irritability, blurred vision, tinnitus, trouble sleeping, memory issues, depression and difficulty focusing. It’s essential that you see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms following a car accident, sports injury or physical assault.
Exams and Testing
After asking you several questions regarding your symptoms and the inciting incident, you’ll need to perform simple tasks to determine how severe your situation is. Moving your upper body and describing the severity of your pain and lack of strength may result in other tests needing to be done. X-rays, computerized tomography or an MRI scan could be done to rule other possible medical conflicts that could worsen your injury.
You’ll likely be in moderate to severe pain if you’ve experienced whiplash. To manage your discomfort, you’ll want to rest for 24 hours after the accident occurred. However, staying in bed longer then that will delay your overall recovery. Over-the-counter pain medication, hot or cold packs applied to the neck, muscle relaxants, prescriptions or even injections are all on the table when it comes to managing your pain.
Ongoing whiplash strain will likely lead you to see a physiotherapist to improve your range of motion. Exercises that strengthen your muscles, straighten your posture and restore movement will be done with a professional at your side to prevent injuries. Specific stretches and other forms of physical therapy like shockwave therapy or manual therapy may be included to customize your treatment plan and decrease your recovery time.
At Pro Fusion Rehab, our physiotherapists are certified highly trained to help you achieve your recovery goals. With locations in Pickering and Milton, Ontario, our physiotherapy clinic specializes in treating both acute and chronic pain caused by sports injuries, surgery, vehicular accidents, and more. With physical therapy services that include massage therapy, acupuncture, shockwave therapy and more, give us a call today to book your physiotherapy appointment.