You’re at the light, waiting for it to change and out of nowhere you hear the screech of braking tires just a moment before your body is thrust forward out of the seat. But your head lags behind, snapping back atop your shoulders and then whipping forward. You hear the crunch of your neck and you feel it give way. You’ve just experienced whiplash, or traumatic neck strain; a painful, hyperextension of the neck. The team at Yonge Street Physiotherapy + Wellness knows this story well.
When you suffer whiplash, the soft tissues of the neck, tendons and ligaments become overstretched. In extreme cases the tissue tears which results in permanent instability and weakness. When this is the case, whiplash turns into a chronic condition. Some symptoms of whiplash appear quickly, while others may take weeks to appear. That’s why getting your accident injury documented as quickly as you can is important. Lack of documentation could affect your insurance’s willingness to pay for claims down the road.
Whiplash symptoms include:
- Back pain
- Numbness or pain in the arms and hands
- Inability to concentrate
- Shoulder pain
- Pain in the high back between the shoulder blades
Whiplash causes muscle spasms, headaches, and may cause you to have limited mobility of the neck. The injury may be bad enough that you need to assist your head off a pillow with your hand. While some symptoms may abate in a few weeks after the trauma, chronic pain and immobility may result from a whiplash trauma.
Treatment of whiplash
You should seek quick treatment for whiplash from a chiropractor of physiotherapist to facilitate your body’s healing. But if you can’t get immediate treatment you can find some simple relief through the application of ice to the affected area. Apply ice for thirty minutes, three times a day.
In the past, immobilization of the neck was prescribed as treatment for whiplash, and in some cases that may still be the case. But more recent trends in treatment call for gentle movement early in the course of treatment. The gentle movement, along with the application of cold compress begins the restoration process of the damaged neck tissues.
For longer treatment of chronic whiplash injury, your physiotherapist of chiropractor will work with you to alleviate symptoms and help you understand your injury better so you can live a fuller, more complete life as you deal with the injury.
What to do after the accident
A car accident is a traumatic event, and when there’s injury involved the process is more acute. The care you get after a car accident will have an effect on you, your job, and your family. So the steps you take after having an accident will serve to protect your future and your health.
After completing an accident report with local law enforcement, turn your attention to medical treatment and your insurance. Getting your claim started as soon as near to the accident will help with insurance claims should symptoms of whiplash take time to appear, remember, sometimes whiplash symptoms take weeks to show. Documentation is critical.
Yonge Street Physiotherapy + Wellness have experience with whiplash. And our team can get your pain under control, and work to restore your neck to pre whiplash health.