Whiplash & What To Do
Winter is on it’s way! This means slips, falls, and car accidents will happen more often. If you have experienced these in the past, you may know what whiplash feels like. Whiplash is the sudden acceleration-deceleration of the head and neck. It is most commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents. Other causes include roller-coasters, bungy-jumping, sports related collisions, or falling on the head or neck. It can happen to individuals of any age, and symptoms are unique to each case.
Symptoms can include any one, or combination of the following:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Shoulder pain, arm pain or upper back pain.
- Altered sensation
- Visual disturbances
- Hearing difficulties
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Difficulty concentrating
If you have any of these symptoms, without any of the symptoms listed below, it’s time to book your appointment with any of the physiotherapists at Leduc Physio!
** DID YOU KNOW?** If you were in a car accident, you are eligible for physiotherapy to help you recover! You do not need a doctor’s referral to be eligible for treatment.
Because whiplash occurs in more traumatic situations; serious injuries need to be ruled out before undergoing treatment. Physiotherapists are trained to detect anything which requires more investigation. If you develop any of the following symptoms, please alert a health professional right away.
- Bilateral pins and needles
- Gait disturbances
- Progressively worsening weakness or sensation problems
- Pins and needles or numbness in the face
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Drop attacks/fainting
- Bladder or bowel problems
Because whiplash cases are all unique, you can experience a variety of symptoms. There are many treatment options for whiplash, but they are most effective when combined to match the symptoms/dysfunctions of the affected person. For example, if you are suffering from dizziness and neck weakness, your treatment plan will include a strengthening program (exercises) as well as a vertigo/vestibular assessment to treat the dizziness.
Your treatment should be led by a physiotherapist or specialist in neck injuries or whiplash.
Your assessment at Leduc physio involves taking a history of the incident, clinical testing of affected areas, and information from any medical imaging you may have already done. Your first appointment and assessment always includes a treatment.
Treatment options such as the following may be recommended:
- Returning and continuing your daily routine(s).
- Gentle exercise to encourage flexibility, strength and good posture.
- Fine neck muscle retraining programs (with a physiotherapist).
- Acupuncture or dry needling.
- Injury education.
- Joint mobilization to loosen stiff joints.
- Medication if needed for pain, muscle tension or psychological assistance.
- Psychologist advice.
- Vestibular rehabilitation (for dizziness).
- Massage for muscle tension.
You WILL recover from whiplash. Depending on severity of symptoms experienced it may take a few days or it could take a few months to fully rehabilitate.
Research shows that active guided treatment is the fastest and most thorough way to recover from whiplash injuries. Other factors can affect your recovery as well; depression or trauma-related anxiety can slow progress. It is important to raise additional issues with qualified health professionals to ensure the best recovery.
All of the physiotherapists at Leduc Physio are trained to assess and treat symptoms of whiplash. Our physiotherapists Jason MaGee, Tenielle MaGee, Jena Beckett, and Marta Diduch are trained in vestibular rehabilitation to treat dizziness and vertigo. Book your appointment with them HERE.