Whiplash is associated with sudden motions that move the neck backwards then forwards, like the cracking of a whip. These abrupt actions can cause the overextension of the neck with additional damage to the muscle, tendons, and even discs of the neck and upper back. Whiplash is most frequently a result of an automobile accident, but can also occur during contact sports activities, accidental falls, or other events where the neck is strained by sudden movement, like a rollercoaster.
Symptoms may not develop until 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. Those suffering from whiplash commonly report aches, pains, or reduced range of motion in the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Other symptoms include headaches, a disruption in concentration or sleeping, and the swelling of the neck. Some people encounter the feeling of pins and needles or muscle spasms in their neck, shoulders, and arms.
Whiplash is a common injury that may heal on its own. Always check with a healthcare professional to ensure additional damage of the spine did not occur. For immediate treatment after the injury, ice or cold packs can be applied to your neck and shoulders for 15-20 minutes to reduce any pain or swelling that may occur. Repeat every hour for the first 2-3 days following the injury. Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are over-the-counter pain medications that may assist with reducing pain or swelling; consult with your physician before beginning any regimen. Physical therapists provide treatment that includes ice and/or heat therapy, manual therapy, and can show you exercises that will help stretch and strengthen your neck to minimize symptoms of whiplash.
We feel like we have the best physical therapists around. Did you know you don’t need a referral to get help from a Physical Therapist? Direct access is available for you, please call us and set up an evaluation so we can help get you back on your feet. In Orange County we offer Physical Therapy in Chester, Goshen, Monroe, Port Jervis, and Montogmery. Westchester County has Physical Therapy in Armonk, Bedford, and Hawthorne. In Ulster County we offer Physical Therapy in Wallkill, while in Sullivan County you can get Physical Therapy in Ferndale. To round out our 12 locations in New York, those living in Rockland County can go to Physical Therapy in New City as well as Pomona. If you happen to live in PA, we also have Physical Therapy in Milford and Dingmans Ferry of Pike County. Give us a call today!