The term whiplash injury is used for a neck injury caused by a sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways.The injury is also called Whiplash Associated Disorders. Whiplash injury is common in road traffic accidents, and may also be caused by sports injuries, falls or assaults. Most cases of whiplash injury occur as the result of rear-end vehicle collisions. Most of the injuries happen in cervical spine 5 (C-5) and cervical spine 6 (C-6). A whiplash injury from an automobile accident is called a cervical acceleration-deceleration injury. Whiplash associated disorders sometimes includes injury to the brain. The most common areas of the spine affected by whiplash are the neck and middle of the spine. Rates of whiplash are higher in persons using a seat belt with shoulder restraint [than with no restraint], poor posture and poorly-fitted head restraints. Whiplash injury is more common in women than men.

  • Sudden or excessive hyperextension, hyperflexion, or rotation of the neck and causes neck pain and other symptoms
  • Rear end collision in a motor vehicle is common cause of whiplash injury.
  •  Injury might also occur in kinematics, roller coaster rides at an amusement park, skiing accidents, airplane travel, or simply from being hit, kicked or shaken.

The pain and other symptoms of whiplash injury may not develop until 6-12 hours or even after a few days.

The symptoms may include:

  • Pain in neck and jaw with or without decrease in range of movements
  • Tightness in paraspinal muscles muscle tightness and spasm
  • Interscapular pain, shoulder pain
  • Reduced range of movements and neck tenderness
  • Headache, dizziness, vertigo, blurring of vision.
  • Numbness, weakness, paraesthesia, sphincter disturbance and increase in relexes in upper limbs and lower limbs in cases of cord injury
  • Retropharyngeal [behind the pharynx] swelling and difficulty in swallowing.
  • Insomnia, anxiety (general anxiety and/or travel anxiety when in a car) or depression.

Conservative treatment of cervical whiplash injury is the first line of action. This includes physical therapy to reduce inflammation and associated pain. Course of minor injuries is usually self-limited and can be managed by analgesic drugs, neck support like cervical collar and local cold/heat therapy. Other treatments, like ultrasound and massage and exercises may also help. Most cases resolve in a few days. But other neck strains may take weeks or longer to heal.

Physical Therapists are professionals, educated and trained to administer interventions. As stated in The Guide to Physical Therapist Practice interventions are the skilled and purposeful use of physical therapy methods and techniques to produce changes consistent with the diagnosis, prognosis, and the goals of the patient or client. Common interventions in the treatment of cervical whiplash injury include:

  • Manual Therapeutic Technique (MTT): hands on care, including soft tissue massage, and joint mobilization by a physical therapist to modulate pain and reduce any soft tissue or tendon irritation.
  • Therapeutic Exercises (TE) including strengthening exercises to improve strength of the muscles in the neck, and increase stability.
  • Neuromuscular Reeducation (NMR) to restore stability, begin retraining the neck, improve proximal joint stability and improve movement technique and mechanics in daily use of the neck.
  • Modalities that can include the use of ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice, cold laser and others to decrease pain and inflammation at the neck and shoulder.
  • Home program that includes strengthening, stretching and stabilization exercises as well as instructions to help the person perform daily tasks and advance to the next functional level.

Procedures that your physician may recommend and perform in addition to physical therapy.

  • REST and ICE
  • The use of NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
  • Steroidal Injections to reduce inflammation
  • Pain medication to reduce the discomfort and allow the patient to perform the recommended exercises

Prognosis

Most people recover full function following a course of conservative care of physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize the neck. The consequences of whiplash range from mild pain for a few days to severe disability.

Following factors may indicate long-term chronicity and disability:

  • A negative attitude
  • Fear avoidance behaviour
  • Reduced activity
  • Not willing to participate in active movement regimen
  • Depression, low morale and social withdrawal.
  • Social or financial problems.

Schedule an
Appointment!

Get back to doing what you love.

We are dedicated physical therapists that genuinely care. We strive to restore you to your former self, no matter the injury.

SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT

Real People, Real Testimonials.

“Thank you for all your help and kindness during my 25 visits. I know I will miss you all. Special thanks to Bob Simona and Sue who were always there for me with a smile and kind words. Twin Boro is very lucky to have such a caring and wonderful group of professionals.”

Joanne

"After my back surgery my doctor wanted me for physical therapy. He suggested Twin Boro Physical Therapy as one of the locations to go to. I checked out all the locations in the area and decided to go to Twin Boro. I stopped by on a Saturday but they were closed. Someone was at the desk doing paperwork and gave me all the information that i needed to fill out. She put the paperwork through and gave me a schedule to return on Monday for my first visit.The therapist ( Andrew ) examined me an put me through a series of work outs three times a week along with his daily exam. As each exercise became easier I was given something a little harder. They were slowly building up the strength in my lower back, core, legs and arms. After years of back pain I am now able to begin to get back to a normal life. I had a chance to work with other therapist there, they are all fantastic and there to help us return to a healthy life. The entire staff is was a pleasure to work with. They listen to what you have to say and and pay attention to what you said. I looked forward to going there, the staff was caring, kind and funny at times. I would highly recommend Twin Boro for physical therapy."

Victor S.

"The employees are a wonderful bunch of people to be around. They're friendly & give the place a hometown feel. All the therapists are really nice. RosaAnna is my PT girl. Her TLC of my muscle/injury issues has made my life much better."

Valerie I.

"I went to the Westwood Office for therapy on my foot...I found everyone from office to therapists to be pleasant, attentive, knowledgeable, and the facility is run like a well-oiled machine! I especially want to thank Mark for my foot feeling better than it has in 7 years! I will definitely recommend Twin Boro Westwood to any one of my friends! Thanks again to all the staff!"

Kimberly M.

View all Testimonials

We have 23 convenient locations

We love being close to our patients. Find out which of our premier facilities is nearest you!

VIew a list of all locations