If you are experiencing neck pain or stiffness following an injury or car accident, this summary will help you understand the causes and how physiotherapy can help. Research suggests that in most cases it is best to keep normally active.
Whiplash is a common injury in which the soft tissues in the neck are sprained as a result of the body being moved backwards and forwards by an unexpected, strong impact. Symptoms often include stiffness in the neck and back of the head, and headaches. Some people also feel pain in the shoulder, between the shoulder blades, or temporary dizziness.
The 'backwards and forwards' movement that causes whiplash most commonly results from a road traffic collision, but can also be due to a fall, a blow to the head, or a strenuous physical activity such as diving, horse riding or rugby.
Physiotherapists are highly skilled at supporting people with whiplash. They will explain how you can manage the pain and contribute to your own recovery.
The physiotherapist will assess how your head and neck are working and affecting your life. They will ask lots of questions, watch your movements and touch the affected area. Recommendations for treatment depend on the length of time that has passed since the injury.
Any visit is likely to include:
Note: The following symptoms are very rare, but contact the doctor or hospital immediately if:
The Whiplash Book
Booklet by Kim Burton et al, published by The Stationery Office (2002). A classic source, which offers advice and exercises to cope with whiplash injury. Electronic Link >>>