Car Accidents: Whiplash Recovery


Imagine that while waiting at a stop light in your car you look into the rearview mirror only to see a car barreling at you without any indication that it’s going to stop. You instantly tense up as it impacts the back of your car and your head moves forward and backward possibly hitting the steering wheel or headrest with the force that is transferred through the car to your body. A couple of days later, you start to feel a persistent pain in your neck, shoulders and back. This pain is associated with a condition commonly called whiplash.

Fortunately for us, whiplash is a treatable condition. It is recommended that you be evaluated by a physical therapist as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident to rule out more serious injuries. If left untreated, whiplash can lead to more chronic pain, muscle changes and even changes to your sensory systems.

Physical therapy for treating whiplash would involve decreasing pain, increasing neck mobility, increasing muscle strength and increasing overall endurance for functional activities. Specifically, treatment may include:

  • electrical stimulation (TENS)
  • cupping
  • intramuscular dry needling
  • manual soft tissue work
  • manual joint movements
  • postural exercises
  • strengthening exercises
  • vestibular exercises
  • re-training of the sensory systems
  • breathing exercises
  • training in work positions

Recovery time from whiplash can vary from as little as a few days and as long as a few months. It is important that you give your body some time to recover. Once your body is fully recovered you will be able to return to your prior level of activity safely.

If you ever experience neck, shoulder or back pain schedule an appointment at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy to Get Your Move Back!

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