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Physical therapy for acute whiplash

What is acute whiplash?

The most common injury associated with motor vehicle accidents, acute whiplash injuries occur as a result of sudden and excessive hyperextension or rotation of the neck, which can indirectly injure the cervical spine. Patients with whiplash-associated disorders typically experience neck pain and stiffness, though some may also experience depression, anxiety, headaches, numbness, dizziness, or other symptoms.

Whiplash injuries vary widely in their severity, and they are classified on a five-grade scale. The majority of patients recover within 3 months, but patients with grade II, III, or IV tend to take a longer time to recover and need more treatment than patients with grade 0 or I whiplash. In cases that don’t require surgery, painkillers and physical therapy are front-line treatments.

Source: Oxford

Acute whiplash symptoms

After the initial trauma, symptoms of whiplash may take 24 hours or more to appear, though they should all develop within the first few days after the injury. The most common symptoms of whiplash-associated disorders include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, shoulder or shoulder blade pain, numbness, dizziness, memory problems, or changing mood.

Less commonly, patients experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, difficulty sleeping and focusing, and severe irritability. These symptoms are more likely to be present in grade III or IV cases of acute whiplash.

The most common symptoms of acute whiplash include:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Tingling or numbness in the neck, shoulders, or arms

Source: WebMD

What causes acute whiplash?

Whiplash is most commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, though whiplash injuries can also be sustained in other ways. Any event that results in the head suddenly and forcefully jerking forwards, backwards, or sideways can result in whiplash and its associated symptoms, as this motion can overstretch and sprain the ligaments and tendons in the neck.

Patients can also experience whiplash due to a bicycle or horse riding accident, an amusement park ride, a blow to the head, a sports collision, or physical abuse. Women are at higher risk than men, as their necks are usually thinner and their neck muscles are typically not as strong.

The most common causes of acute whiplash include:

  • Car accidents
  • Bike accidents
  • Blows to the head
  • Contact sports

Source: Medical News Today

Physical therapy for acute whiplash

Physical therapy is a leading treatment for acute whiplash, especially in combination with bracing and medication. A physical therapist can work with patients to restore proper function and movement to the soft tissues that are damaged during a whiplash-inducing trauma.

Physical therapy for whiplash includes both passive and active treatments. Passive whiplash treatments include deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapies, and ultrasound. All of these treatments can help to reduce pain, increase circulation, and decrease inflammation associated with whiplash. Active whiplash treatment includes range-of-motion exercises and postural training.

Source: Spine Universe

The best acute whiplash physical therapists in
the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

Our physical therapists are experts in helping patients recover from acute whiplash. Using proven techniques, and treatment programs designed to each patient’s needs, our licensed PTs can can help to reduce pain and improve mobility in the neck.

Best of all, with Luna, patients can get treatment for acute whiplash right at home. It’s physical therapy, delivered.

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