A whiplash injury will cause restricted movement of the neck. Since a person’s neck movement is important in everyday activities, it is a must that a person recovers from a whiplash injury immediately. Physical therapy is a very helpful treatment option for whiplash injury. It is combined with other treatments like using braces to make sure the person will recover faster.
What happens when there is a whiplash injury? During a whiplash injury, the soft tissues in the neck are damaged. This is because the neck was forced to move forward and back in a snap-like motion. Whiplash injuries happen in car accidents where the neck of passengers thrusts forward and snaps back immediately. The neck cannot handle this sudden movement, which causes damages to the neck tissues. With the tissues damaged, the neck muscles restrict further movement to avoid insult to the injury.
Physical therapists work with many whiplash-injured patients to restore neck movement and proper function of neck tissues. They perform active and passive treatments. Passive treatments are done to relax the body to help the body heal and adjust to the whiplash injury pain. Active treatments are exercises that will help strengthen the neck once again. As you may know, the neck is connected to the spine, which means that the spine should be treated as well.
In physical therapy, deep tissue massage is done. This massage technique targets the muscle tension due to the injury. The physical therapist will put pressure and friction on the injured soft tissues that will make the healing process faster.
Hot and cold therapies are also important in physical therapy treatments. With hot therapy, physical therapists want to get more blood into the injured area because the more oxygen there is, the more nutrients will flow. The blood removes all the waste by-products caused by the injury. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and pain. Physical therapists alternate these two treatments for faster recovery.
Ultrasound is another technique that will help in blood circulation. This method reduces muscle stiffness, muscle cramps, muscle spasms and pain. Ultrasound is sound waves that goes deep into the muscle tissue and enhances blood circulation and faster healing.
Aside from these techniques, physical therapists will also ask you to do strengthening exercises. Due to the restricted movement, the neck muscles are a little weaker and you have to fight through this. Exercises strengthen the muscles and increase the neck’s flexibility. Your physical therapist will create a treatment program that will suit your condition so follow it religiously.