Do I Need Physical Therapy for Whiplash?

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is caused by an abrupt, forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck, most often caused by car accidents. When whiplash occurs, intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots may become damaged. 

Physical therapists at Island Sports Physical Therapy are able to diagnose and treat your whiplash so that you can return to your comfortable, everyday life! Our staff has plenty of experience working with patients who recently experienced a car accident and have suffered whiplash, soft tissue damage, and other ailments. 

Do I Have Whiplash?

If you have recently been in a car accident, or suffered from an involuntary hyperextension of the neck, and are experiencing strain or pain in your neck, you may have developed whiplash.  The symptoms of whiplash are usually delayed up to one day after the accident. These are just some of the common symptoms associated with whiplash:

  • Stiff neck.
  • Headache.
  • Neck ache.
  • Lower back pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Shoulder pain or pain between shoulder blades.
  • Irritability/Trouble sleeping.
  • Tingling or numbness in the limbs.
  • Memory problems.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consulting with one of our expert physical therapists could be your solution. Of the many services that we offer, strength training and fitness programming could be an avenue for you to pursue. 

How is Whiplash Diagnosed?

In order to determine whether or not you are suffering from whiplash, the doctors at Island Sports Physical Therapy will do a physical examination of your head, arms, and neck. They will assess where your pain or discomfort is and which movements trigger this discomfort. In diagnosing whiplash, your physical therapist will assess just a few of the following:

  • Your range of motion in your neck and shoulders.
  • The degree of pain and tenderness in your neck, shoulders, and back.
  • The strength of your muscles, reflexes, and sensations in your limbs.

Next, your therapist may provide a further evaluation with the use of image testing. X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are tests that may be used.

If it is determined that you are suffering from whiplash, your physical therapist will construct a treatment plan of special exercises to ensure that you recover properly.

How Physical Therapy Helps With Whiplash?

Whiplash can cause severe and, at times, debilitating pain. If left untreated, there is a risk for chronic pain and soreness in the neck for extended periods of time, and over-exertion of the muscles affected. While over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen may help to temporarily relieve pain, it is important to get the proper treatment to ensure a healthy recovery, and most doctors recommend seeing a physical therapist.

At Island Sports Physical Therapy, we will assess your pain and the extent of your injury. With whiplash, our main goal is for you to return to your normal range of motion, and to alleviate your pain. We will use a variety of exercises like neck rotations or bending to help stretch and strengthen the damaged muscles, as well as deep-tissue massage to help soothe them.

With some whiplash cases, doctors will use hot-and-cold therapy. The heat helps to get increased blood flow to the affected area, which brings needed oxygen and helps to remove waste byproducts. When cold temperatures are introduced, inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain are reduced. 

Additionally, your physical therapist will recommend certain at-home treatments like icing, heating pads, proper rest, and at-home exercises.

Where to Get Physical Therapy for Whiplash?

With six locations across Long Island, Island Sports Physical Therapy is here to help. Our dedicated team at Island Sports Physical Therapy has been treating patients who suffer from whiplash and guiding them to recovery for years. Proper treatment is essential to relieving neck pain and ensuring healthy muscle and nerve recovery.

Don’t continue to suffer and don’t leave your whiplash untreated! Visit our website for more information on our treatment plans, or give us a call to make an appointment today!

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