Physical therapy is a highly effective treatment option for whiplash, especially when coupled with other treatments and medicines, such as bracing. With whiplash, the soft tissues in your neck become damaged or injured, but a physical therapist can help restore the individual’s original movement and proper function of those tissues.
Physical therapy can include both passive and active treatments. Passive treatments help unwind your body as well as you. As you don’t have to actively participate, they are called passive. Most likely, you’re experiencing severe pain because of whiplash, which means you will probably start as your body heals with passive treatments and/or adapts to the pain. But the aim of physical therapy would be to get into active treatments. All these are in order for your spine has better support healing exercises that reinforce your body.
Passive Treatments for Whiplash
Deep Tissue Massage: Muscle tension that may grow as a consequence of whiplash is targeted by this technique. The therapist uses direct pressure and friction to try and release the tension in your soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles). This would help them heal quicker.
Hot and Cold Therapies: Through the use of heat, the physical therapist seeks to get more blood to the target area because more oxygen is brought by an increased blood circulation and nutrients to that particular place. Blood can also be needed to remove waste byproducts created by muscle spasms, plus additionally, it helps curing.
Circulation slows, helping lessen pain, muscle spasms, and inflammation. Your physical therapist will switch between hot and cold therapies.
(When you first injure yourself—either in a car crash or in a different injury-inducing event—you can make use of this hot and cold treatment technique at home. Use ice first to bring the inflammation down, and after the first 24 to 48 hours, you can change between ice and heat. The heat can help relax tense muscles, and it will improve circulation to the region that is injured. Increased circulation promotes faster healing. As a reminder, never place ice or heat directly on your own skin—wrap it in a towel, as an example.)
Ultrasound: By raising blood circulation, an ultrasound helps reduce muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness, and pain. It will this by developing a gentle heat that improves circulation, sending sound waves into your muscle tissues and healing.
Active Treatments for Whiplash
In the active portion of physical therapy, your therapist will teach you various exercises to work on your own strength and range of movement (how easily your joints move). Your physical therapy program is individualized, taking into account your wellbeing and history. Your exercises may not be acceptable for another individual with whiplash and neck pain.
If necessary, you’ll learn how to correct your posture and integrate ergonomic principles into your daily actions. This pose work must help you since youwill have the ability to prevent other types of neck pain that grow from daily living, even once you recover from whiplash.
Overall, the purpose of physical therapy for whiplash patients will be to help increase blood circulation, reduce muscle spasms, and encourage healing of the neck tissues.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Neck Pain and Auto Injury
After being involved in an automobile accident, the sheer force of the impact can often cause whiplash, a common type of neck injury resulting from the sudden, back-and-forth motion of the head against the body due to a car wreck, or other incident. Because of this, many of the complex structures found within the neck, including the spine, ligaments and muscles, can be stretched beyond their normal range, causing injury and painful symptoms.
The information herein on "Physical Therapeutics for Whiplash Associated Disorders" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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