Whiplash. - Townsville Massage

What is Whiplash?

This occurs most commonly from a car accident, but can also be brought on through contact sports or a fall onto the head. Whiplash is known as injury to the neck, caused by a rapid forwards and backwards motion of the head.  The speed of the cars involved in the accident or the amount of physical damage to the car may not relate to the intensity of neck injury as speeds as low as 15 miles per hour can produce enough energy to cause whiplash in occupants, whether they wear seat belts or not.

Common causes of whiplash include contact sport injuries and blows to the head from a falling object  assault.

Whiplash is essentially a muscle strain and/or ligament sprain in the neck muscles. The muscles injured most often include the Levator Scapulae and the Sternocleidomastoid. In more severe cases, there can also be nerve damage and fractures of various processes of the Cervical Vertebrae.

Symptoms of Whiplash?

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck which might not appear at once, but develop over the next day or two.  There could be swelling as well.
  • Reduced range of movement in the neck (Cervical Spine).
  • Muscle spasms in the side or back of your neck.
  • Difficulty moving your neck around
  • Pain shooting from your neck into either shoulder or arm.
  • Feeling dizzy.
  • Headaches.
  • Blurred vision. This should not last long, if it persists see your doctor.
  • Pain and stiffness may last a few weeks, depending on the severity.
  • Child abuse, particularly the shaking of a child, can also result in this injury as well as in more serious injuries to the child’s brain or spinal cord.

If you feel:

  • Severe pain in the back of the head…
  • Pins and needles or numbness in the shoulders or arms…
  • Loss of memory…
  • Loss of consciousness…

You could have a more serious injury, and possibly concussion.   If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor without delay.

The amount of time that elapses between injury and the onset of symptoms can predict the severity of injury. A shorter time signifies a potentially severe injury with more continual long-term complications.

Treatment of Whiplash.

Try to gently move your neck in all directions as soon as you feel up to it and try it every couple of hours or so.
If possible and if it’s not too painful, increase the range of movement each time.

Stretching can be beneficial for the neck as well starting about three days after the injury to restore flexibility, but stop if it’s painful.

Deep Tissue Massage will help get you back to normal and an experienced therapist will know how much you can tolerate, but it’s advisable to see a doctor first to check for spinal damage.