Whiplash/Motor Vehicle Injury
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is the term to describe neck pain and injury after an accident. It’s actually the spraining of your neck’s soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles, discs, and small joints) and can occur in car accidents, sporting activities and accidental falls. It is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck, most commonly from motor vehicle accidents.
Facts about whiplash injury
- Whiplash is a relatively common injury that is often ignored or mistreated due to lack of understanding of the condition
- It is usually the result of an impact while in a stationary or moving position.
- Early range of motion and exercises lead to a more rapid recovery than prolonged immobilization or use of a cervical collar
- Failure to properly educate and treat patients with whiplash can lead to chronic psychosocial symptoms including depression and anxiety
- age, gender, marital status and education
- seat belt use, awareness of impending collision, position in vehicle and speed of collision
- pre-collision pain or general health status
- high healthcare utilisation for treatment of whiplash
Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD)
The impact may result in bony or soft tissue injuries which in turn may lead to a variety of clinical manifestations called WAD. WAD is classified into 4 grades.
Grade 1 – Pain and stiffness, no physical signs
Grade 2 – Pain with physical signs, no neurological signs
Grade 3 – Neurological deficit, no fracture
Grade 4 – Fracture of the spine
Symptoms and disorders that can manifest in all grades include, but are not limited to, deafness, dizziness, tinnitus, headache, memory loss, dysphagia, and temporomandibular joint pain
What do we do?
- Do a detailed examination
- Identify the patients at risk of poor recovery and extend of injury
- Provide a comprehensive treatment plan
- Monitor progress of recovery
- Review and take necessary recommended action
The treatment may include one or more of the following, but not limited to:
Guided exercises program
Muscle mobilisation/myofascial release
Acupuncture / Trigger point needling
Heat / cold therapy
Evidence Based Practice
We follow the Canadian guidelines and latest evidence to treat whiplash injury.
Evidence shows, starting physiotherapy treatment as early as within 4 days of the injury has a better outcome.
Evidence shows early mobilization, being active and return to normal activities ASAP following a whiplash injury shortens the recovery period.