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Got neck pain after a car accident? What you need to know about whiplash

If you’ve ever been in a rear-end car accident, you would recognise that terrifying moment when your head and neck forcefully jerks forward and backward at the moment of impact. What you wouldn’t realise at the time is that the rapid back and forth motion overstretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the cervical spine.

Whiplash can hurl some people into a world of pain that can persist for months. But the sooner you seek treatment, the faster you can recover.

Let’s talk about whiplash

Whiplash is commonly sustained in high impact car accidents but any violent blow to the head can cause whiplash – like a contact sporting accident or a fall.

Whiplash injuries are not fun. You may experience minor symptoms that go away within days or chronic pain that can last months. The most common symptom is neck pain which is caused by ligament or muscle strain.

Other symptoms include neck stiffness, headache, tingling or numbness in the arms and hands.

The pain from a whiplash injury may not present immediately and it’s important to monitor the signs.

Is there cause for concern?

Usually not. Minor whiplash can be self-treated with ice or heat packs and over-the-counter pain medications. But some people experience longer lasting pain and symptoms.

If you’ve experienced whiplash previously, are older, or have existing back or neck pain, the outcomes can be worse.

Gentle, active movement is recommended early after sustaining a whiplash injury. The sooner you start treatment, the faster the recovery.

Physiotherapy can remedy whiplash pain

Physiotherapy is effective in relieving tension in the neck muscles and helping you regain movement in your neck.

A physiotherapist can help diagnose whiplash and determine the severity of your injury before devising a suitable treatment plan.

Treatment will depend on the extent of your injury but may include personalised exercises targeted at restoring your normal range of movement. It may also include massage therapy to relieve muscle stiffness.

Need an assessment for whiplash?

Don’t delay your diagnosis. Or let the pain continue. Contact our physiotherapy team who are experienced in the treatment back and neck injuries, including whiplash. The sooner you start proper physiotherapy treatment, the sooner you’ll start feeling better.

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