Enduring the pain of whiplash injury or in other words neck pain or strain on the neck is not very easy, and ignoring the pain may lead to worsening the situation. An automobile accident is one of the common causes of this injury. The whiplash treatment includes medications and physical therapy which can be prescribed by the doctor after proper diagnosis.
Causes of whiplash injury
The neck trauma caused by an automobile accident is said to be one of the most common causes of a whiplash injury. But sometimes it may be caused due to sports accidents, physical abuse, falls, or any other trauma that causes strain on the neck. Getting better depends on the severity of the injury. Sometimes it gets better with over-the-counter pain medication and small neck exercises. But sometimes things may be more complicated and proper diagnosis and treatment are needed to avoid long-term complications.
Symptoms of whiplash injury
Because the trauma is caused by the back and forth movement of the neck it is called whiplash and the symptoms can appear within days of the injury and it includes:
• Stiffness of the neck
• Severe pain in the neck and the surrounding area
• Difficulty in moving your neck
• Pain in the base of your skull and moving upwards
• Tingling sensation or numbness on your arms
• Pain and tenderness in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
All the above symptoms should not be ignored and immediate consultation with the doctor is advised. Blurred vision, memory loss, ringing in the ears, disturbed sleep, depression, etc are also some of the symptoms of a whiplash injury.
If you have been in a traffic accident and you are experiencing the above symptoms, ignoring it will lead to many complications. Consulting a doctor is the proper course of action in this situation. After diagnosing the doctor will prescribe some pain medication and will refer you to a physiotherapist who will be able to further help you deal with your injury.
How can physiotherapy help?
According to studies every year over a million whiplash injuries are reported due to motor vehicle accidents. The hyperextension and hyperflexion of the cervical spine cause neck trauma. Apart from pain medication, physiotherapy is also a part of whiplash treatment. Due to the accident soft neck tissues get damaged and along with medication, the physiotherapist will help you with certain neck exercises that can rejuvenate the tissues and bring back the mobility of your neck. In physiotherapy the first action will be to help you deal with the pain:
• Deep tissue massage
The impact of the accident causes tension on the neck muscles; the therapist will apply pressure in the areas so that the tension is released from the areas like tendons, ligaments, muscles. This deep tissue massage reduces the pain and helps heal faster.
• Hot and cold therapies
Heat therapy increases the blood flow to the affected area and brings oxygen and other nutrients so that the affected area heals faster. The physiotherapist applies heat to the area and tries to get the desired result. Cold therapy helps reduce pain, muscle spasms, and inflammation. The therapist applies both heat and cold therapies alternatively helping in the healing process.
Ultrasound helps in reducing muscle spasms, swelling, pain, and stiffness. The therapist sent sends sound waves through ultrasound to the affected muscles and this creates gentle heat around the area that helps in the healing process.
Exercises to help improve strength
After treating and minimizing the pain, the therapist will continue the treatment by giving you mild exercises that will improve your range of motion and give strength to the muscles. The treatment differs according to individuals and the seriousness of the injury.
The bottom line is that physiotherapy is the best option for whiplash treatment and it can help in the quick healing process and you can also get on with your normal routine faster. Always take your pain seriously and make your life easier with physiotherapy and proper medication.