Whiplash, medically termed as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome, is a neck injury that occurs when the head jerks forward and backward as a result of a rapid, forceful impact to it. Whiplash is typically caused by rear-end vehicular collisions, but it can also occur due to sports accidents and other types of traumas, such as a fall.
Symptoms of whiplash include neck, shoulder, and upper neck pain and stiffness; headache (which usually starts at the base of the skull); confusion; extreme fatigue; and dizziness.
If you recently got into a traffic or sports accident and you are experiencing symptoms of whiplash, it’s important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis—to rule out cervical fracture and other types of injury. Once your doctor confirms a diagnosis, they will devise an appropriate treatment plan, which may include pain medications, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and physical therapy.
Let’s learn about how exactly you can benefit from physical therapy if you sustained a whiplash.
Providing Symptom Relief
Your physical therapist may incorporate deep-tissue massage, in which they will use direct pressure and friction to break up scar tissue and to release the tension from your soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, and tendons). Deep-tissue massage is aimed at relieving pain and stiffness in your soft tissues.
Heat therapy helps relax taut muscles in your neck and boosts circulation to the injured area. Increased circulation translates into faster healing. Cold therapy, on the other hand, reduces inflammation, soothes muscle spasms, and relieves pain.
Your physical therapist may also employ ultrasound therapy, which has also been shown to effectively address pain and enhance cartilage repair. The transducer head sends out a beam of low-frequency sound waves, which are converted into heat within your deep tissues. The heat then dilates your blood vessels, thereby allowing oxygen to be delivered to the site of injury.
Restoring Your Mobility and Normal Function
During your recovery phase, your physical therapist will then start gradually incorporating gentle exercises into your treatment plan. Keep in mind that these exercises are not geared toward making you sweat or lose weight. Rather, they are intended to help you improve your movement and increase your flexibility and strength.
Your physical therapist will craft a customized exercise program based on your injury then guide you in executing the exercises while correcting your posture.
Physical Therapy in Watertown, NY
At North Country Orthopaedic Group, our licensed physical therapists are passionate about delivering personalized and comprehensive care for whiplash and other types of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, helping our patients recover quickly in the safest way possible.