Whiplash is an acceleration-deceleration mechanism of injury to the neck where there is associated rapid flexion/extension of the neck. It most commonly happens in motor vehicle accidents especially when there is no headrest or airbag present.
Whiplash can potentially affect bony, ligamentous, neurological and muscle structures.
The main symptoms can include neck pain and headaches. Other symptoms may include neurological symptoms, dizziness, tinnitus and visual disturbances.
The most recent and strongest supporting evidence for physiotherapy treatment of whiplash is early mobilisation and exercise programs. It is recommended not to wear a collar if there is no evidence of fractures or ligament tearing.
Prognosis is variable depending on the severity of the initial injury. However outcomes are generally positive.
Studies have shown that people who are positive about recovery and resume their normal activities earlier and as tolerated may recover faster than those who markedly alter or reduce their activity level for a period.
At Fountain Gate Physiotherapy we encourage and support patients to stay active and resume work as soon as possible.