Whiplash: What You Need To Know

It’s highly likely that you would be familiar with the term whiplash. Whiplash is something that most people generally associate with car accidents.

If you’ve thought this before, you’re absolutely correct. Whiplash can also result from heavy impact sporting injuries.

Whiplash neck strain occurs when a person’s head is suddenly jolted backwards and forwards in what is essentially a whip-like movement. This abrupt movement in the neck can cause muscles and ligaments in the neck to instantly stretch as well as placing stress on the delicate discs in the neck. Sudden whip-like movements extend the neck so far beyond it’s usually range of movement that injury is often unavoidable.

Whiplash neck sprains are extremely common in those who are involved in car accidents, especially rear-ended impacts. It’s believed that 2 out of 3 people will develop neck pain after a car accident.

Some of the symptoms of whiplash neck strain can include:

– The inability to move the neck properly
– Pain and stiffness in the neck, jaw, shoulder, arms
– Your head feeling ‘too heavy’ for your neck
– Dizziness
– Headaches
– Blurred vision
– Difficulty concentrating
– Pain when swallowing

As you can see by the list of possible symptoms above, whiplash strain injury is not something to shrug off or to ignore. It’s also crucial to rule out any permanent injuries in the neck. Although physiotherapy is highly recommended to effectively treat your whiplash injury, some immediate ways you can ease the pain before seeing your physiotherapist are as follows:

– Ensuring your neck is well supported at night when you sleep (pay close attention to your choice and position of pillows)
– Sleeping on your back to ensure your neck is well supported and safe
– Applying ice on the painful areas for 5-10 minutes during the first few days to provide pain relief and to reduce spasms

As healing gets underway, it’s so important to begin moving your next so you can retain your pre-injury range of motion in your neck. Care and instruction from a professional physiotherapist will achieve best results. After an initial consultation and thorough assessment, your physiotherapist may request further examination and scans to completely assess the damage to your neck. Here at Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy, we take neck injuries very seriously.

Initial treatment will then focus on reducing inflammation and strengthening your neck to avoid future injury or damage and involve:

– Gentle, hands on therapy
– You’ll receive strategies to help improve posture
– Your treatment will be supplemented by an at-home exercise program, and
– You’ll be given lots of information to help you protect your neck from further injury.

While gentle hands-on therapy is a highly successful way to treat neck pain and can bring fast relief, long-term self-management, is also vital. Whiplash injuries respond extremely well to physiotherapy and many people witness a major improvement in a few short weeks after care.

If you or a family member have recently suffered a whiplash injury, the team at Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy have highly skilled physiotherapist who have plenty of experience treating and managing neck injuries. If you have any questions about a potential whiplash injury, or feel as though you need to book an appointment, you can Call Progressive Sport and Spinal Physiotherapy today on 47217798 or email: info@progressiverehab.com.au. You can also book online by clicking here

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.