Whiplash is a specific kind of head and neck pain that is the result of a rapid foward-and-backward displacement of the skull on the neck. Simply put, whiplash happens when the head is thrown forward and backward.
Whiplash pain can be felt in the head, the neck, and in the shoulders. Whiplash pain may be accompanied by headaches, dizziness, nausea, and numerous other symptoms. The variety in symptoms and the broad area in which the pain may be felt is due to the interconnected nature of the skull, the neck, and the shoulders. These structures are well-reinforced by muscles, nerves, and arteries that contribute to the stability of the neck and shoulders, as well as the appropriate alignment of the head.
When the head is thrown forward and backward or side to side, the muscles in the neck, the base of the skull, and the top of the shoulders all experience spasm and tightening. This is a guarding response against trauma, to protect the spine from injury. Unfortunately, this tightness and guarding may persist long after the initial incident, and the ongoing pain and discomfort has the potential to severely impact the quality of life of the person who suffered the accident.
Further to this, whiplash pain is commonly accompanied by headaches that can be felt in the back, the front, or the sides of the scalp. This onset of symptoms can be confronting to people who do not normally experience headaches.
Management of Whiplash depends on the cause of the pain, how it feels and changes over the day, what makes it better or worse, and the length of time you have been experiencing the pain. All of these factors will be addressed in your initial assessment, which is the first step towards minimising and managing any pain or discomfort. The treatment you receive will be tailored to address the specific cause of your discomfort, and will focus on minimising pain, maximising your ability to move pain free, and developing a plan to minimise the risk of a flare-up in the future.
At Atlas Physio, we will provide you with education, structured management, and ongoing monitoring of your pain both in and out of the clinic. Contact us to arrange an assessment, and to take the first step on a course of corrective care today.