Thousands of Americans are involved in rear-end car accidents every day, and one of the most common injuries suffered in this type of automobile accident is whiplash. Whiplash is defined as a soft tissue injury to the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the neck region. These soft tissues are injured when they are forcefully moved in one direction, like what your neck might experience if you are jolted forward or come to a quick stop in a rear-end car accident.
Whiplash can also occur during other activities, like during athletic activities or in any instance when you have a quick and abrupt motion of the head and neck. Resting the area and giving it time to heal is a great passive treatment for your whiplash in the immediate aftermath, but after a couple days you’ll see more benefit with an active treatment modality like physical therapy. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at why physical therapy can be so beneficial after a whiplash injury.
Treating Whiplash With Physical Therapy
When it comes to helping your neck structures heal after whiplash trauma, it’s not just about giving them time to go through the healing process. You also want to help provide an ideal healing environment and improve function in the area. Here’s how you can achieve that with physical therapy.
- Restrengthen – The muscles in your neck that provide support and aid in movement are often strained or torn during a whiplash event. Physical therapy will help to strengthen these important muscles with targeted exercises.
- Flexibility – When these tissues are injured, movement becomes painful and restrictive. To prevent long-term flexibility loss, it’s important to slowly work to increase your range of motion, and the best way to do that is through physical therapy.
- Increased Blood Flow – Damaged tissues heal better when they can get a consistent amount of healthy blood. Physical therapy helps to increase blood flow and decrease potentially restrictive swelling in the area. Physical therapy and controlled movement will help regulate fluids in the injured area, which aids in healing.
- Individualized Help – Everyone’s whiplash injury is different, so treatment isn’t going to be the same for all whiplash sufferers. The benefit of physical therapy is that a trained professional can assess your specific situation and provide a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Don’t just rely on general advice, because it may not be what’s best for you. Connect with a physical therapist and get a treatment program developed specifically for your injuries.
- Posture Improvements – Finally, physical therapy can be beneficial after a whiplash injury because your therapist can explain the forces at play when your neck is in certain positions and how daily activities can cause pain to develop. We can help improve your posture and educate you on why your neck may be sore after a long day at the office. The key to putting an end to whiplash symptoms for good is to avoid prolonged stress on your neck during recovery, and if you have poor posture or neck positioning, symptoms can linger. A physical therapist can help prevent that.
So if you have been diagnosed with whiplash or you’re showing signs of the condition after a forceful head movement, consider connecting with a physical therapist near you. You don’t need a doctor’s referral in order to see a physical therapist, so skip the middleman and get started on your treatment today. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.