The term “whiplash” refers to when your head is rapidly jerked and moved backwards, forwards or sideways. The extreme nature of this motion makes your neck move beyond its normal range of movement, which in turn overstretches your ligaments, tendons and muscles. Unlike a broken bone where a simple x-ray can validate the presence of the fracture and identify suitable medical treatments, whiplash injuries involve an unpredictable combination of nervous system, muscles joints and connective tissue disruption which are difficult to diagnose and treat.
Some of the most common causes of whiplash include:
- automotive accidents,
- a sudden blow to the head,
- a slip or fall wherein your head is suddenly jerked,
- being struck on the head by a heavy object,
- sports related injuries.
After an incident such as these, the symptoms of whiplash may take between 6 and 12 hours to develop. It is common for whiplash sufferers to feel more severe neck stiffness or pain the day after the accident; pain which may continue to escalate in the following days.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF WHIPLASH?
If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, it is advisable you seek treatment for a whiplash injury:
- neck pain and stiffness,
- tenderness over your neck muscles,
- reduced and painful neck movements,
- lower back pain,
- pain, numbness or pins and needles in your arms and hands,
- muscle spasms,
- blurred vision,
- vertigo (i.e. the sensation that you are moving or spinning whilst standing still).
Fortunately, with sufficient care, whiplash injuries can be significantly healed within 6 to 9 months. However, if left untreated, over 20% of whiplash sufferers continue to experience pain, weakness or restricted movement two years after their accident.
To avoid a whiplash injury escalating into a permanent condition, it is recommended you undergo a combination of spine & wellness care, rehabilitation of the soft tissues and home care, all under the supervision of professional healthcare practitioners.
Spine & Wellness care has proven to be an extremely effective treatment method for whiplash. At Spinal Care Clinics, we utilise manual manipulation of the spine to restore the normal movement and position of your spinal vertebrae. This treatment has been proven to drastically minimise the long-term impact of whiplash injuries, especially when coupled with sports massage therapy, exercise rehabilitation and soft tissue rehabilitation. Supplementary home care soft tissue rehabilitation treatments can also provide alleviation from pain and aid nerve and muscle rehabilitation. These treatments include:
- applying ice packs to the affected area,
- limiting your work and daily activities,
- undergoing specific stretches and exercises,
- taking nutritional supplements,
- getting plenty of rest.
RECOVERY FROM WHIPLASH
With proper care, many mild whiplash injuries heal within six to nine months. However, more than 20% of those who suffer from whiplash injuries continue to suffer from pain, weakness or restricted movement two years after their accident. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these people will continue to suffer from some level of disability or pain for many years after that, if not for the rest of their lives.
Whiplash is a unique condition that requires the expertise of a skilled health professional specially trained to work with these types of injuries. The most effective treatment for whiplash injuries is a combination of spine and wellness care, rehabilitation of the soft tissues and taking care of yourself at home.