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Common Conditions



What Is A Whiplash

Whiplash also called neck sprain or neck strain is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck. In whiplash, the intervertebral joints (located between vertebrae), discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerve roots may become damaged.

Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. However, people who experience whiplash may develop one or more of the following symptoms, usually within the first few days after the injury. These symptoms include neck pain, neck stiffness, irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, dizziness, lower back pain, headaches, pain in the arm, hand or shoulder.

Recovery time depends on how serious the whiplash is. Most cases resolve in a few days but other neck strains may take weeks or longer to heal. Once the acute symptoms of neck strain are gone, physical therapy will be needed to make the neck muscles more limber and stronger to recover and reduce the odds of neck strain in the future.

Physical therapy is an effective treatment that can help restore proper function and movement of damaged tissues for whiplash, especially when combined with other treatments such as bracing and medications. Deep tissue massage technique, direct pressure and friction will be used to release the tension in the soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles). Therapeutic ultrasound, hot therapy and cold therapy will also be incorporated to get more blood flow while reducing inflammation and muscle spasm. Exercises that help improve range of motion and strength, as well as lifestyle recommendations will also be prescribed depending on condition and health history. If in doubt, seek professional advice.