A whiplash patient can generally be treated by a physiotherapist.
If you have been involved in a car accident recently where your head was pushed forward unnaturally by the force, you may be suffering from whiplash. The symptoms of this ailment vary, but typically include pain in the neck region. While most cases of whiplash are mild, and require a few weeks for recovery, serious cases of whiplash can cause a lifelong disability.
After an accident, your body shuts down momentarily going into what is referred to as shock. This condition may cause you to not immediately feel the pain from a whiplash injury. It is imperative that despite how you feel after being involved in a car accident, you seek attention from a medical professional right away.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury to the neck that is caused by the over extension of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments contained there. As the head is jolted forward and then back from a rear end collision, those elements become stretched beyond their normal limits, causing swelling, and severe pain. Referred pain is common and can affect the back, shoulders, and arms.
Patients who do not seek treatment for whiplash generally deal with the pain by altering their movements. This creates a vicious cycle of pain as the body makes compensations for the lack of movement, causing the further deterioration of the affected muscles as well as changes to your posture. Without early intervention and the introduction of therapy, you risk worsening the condition and its symptoms.
Physiotherapy For Whiplash
With the exception of severe whiplash where there is nerve compression, a whiplash patient can generally be treated by a physiotherapist. These medical professionals focus their practice on the spinal cord and neck, offering alternative treatments for the control of pain and the restoration of mobility.
A physiotherapist will use spinal and neck manipulation techniques to isolate the source of your pain and work on relieving it. Being sedentary during this time will not facilitate healing, therefore they will be adding exercise to your therapy to increase blood flow and promote healing.
Other methods employed in acute whiplash cases by physiotherapists include electrotherapy combined with heat or cold. This can work towards stopping muscle spasms so that the area can begin to heal. Massage may also be implemented to stimulate the soft tissue and promote healing.
Physiotherapy will be ongoing until all of the painful symptoms of whiplash disappear. In acute cases they may however have to refer a patient to a surgeon to assess damage to a disc. Even when surgery is the only option for recovery, the physiotherapist will be necessary for the care after surgery.
What to Do If You Think You Have Whiplash
When you are suddenly afflicted with neck pain accompanied by headache and radiating pain down the arms or back, you should make an immediate appointment with a physician. If you don’t begin treatment right away, your body will begin to compensate for your limited range of motion, causing further problems down the line. Follow the advice of the physician and physiotherapist in order to achieve full recovery as quickly as possible.
In the event that your injury was caused by a rear end car collision or other type of accident that was not your fault, you may also want to speak to a qualified attorney. The cost of advanced therapy for whiplash can be high, and an attorney may be able to help you recover a portion or all of that expense.