Have you recently been involved in a motor vehicle accident? Does your neck, chest, upper back and shoulders hurt? Do you have a headache or pins and needles in your arm/s? You might have whiplash. The symptoms of whiplash result from forces causing quick accelerations and decelerations of the body. Whiplash is graded into 5 grades:
What are the characteristics of activities that cause whiplash?
- High acceleration then deceleration incident, often motor vehicle accident
Signs and symptoms of whiplash
- Pain in the neck, upper back, shoulders, chest
- Neck movement may be restricted
- May present with pins and needles or numbness in the arms
- Headaches with or without visual impairment
What does the science currently say?
The symptoms of whiplash often resolves, however sometimes it can become chronic. In cases of chronic whiplash:
- Deep neck flexor and deep neck extensor muscles may become weak and lose their stamina to hold up the weight of the head
- There might also be fatty infiltration and atrophy in these muscles
- Re- organisation of slow twitch muscle fibres to fast twitch muscle fibres can occur
- There may be impaired feedforward muscle activation
How can Physiotherapy help?
Your Physiotherapist will be able to:
- Help you identify aggravating activities
- Provide manual therapy to reduce pain, tightness and improve movement
- Guide you through strengthening targeting the deep neck flexors and deep neck extensors
- Provide stretching and mobility exercises for tight muscles
- Provide scapular stabilisation exercises
- Provide training for the proprioceptive reflexes of the neck, cervico- ocular reflexes, cervico- colic reflexes improving joint position sense and proprioception