Physical Therapy Treatment for Whiplash
The term whiplash associated disorders (WAD) describes injuries that occur as a result of a rapid acceleration-deceleration movement. Whiplash is the most common injury occurring after car accidents. It can also occur as a result of sporting injuries and falls. Most people that experience whiplash will recover naturally within a few weeks, however approximately 42% continue to have symptoms.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain and headaches
- Decreased neck movement
- Disturbances in vision and hearing
- Jaw pain (temporomandibular joint disfunction)
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
- Difficulties with concentration
- Memory loss
- Psychological distress including anxiety and depression
Whiplash can result in injury to joints, ligaments, muscles and nerves. Research has shown that regardless of specific tissue structures involved, individuals with WAD can experience a variety of changes in their sensation, movement, pain experience and psychological functioning.
For individuals with milder WAD symptoms, research indicates that a multi-modal physical therapy program that addresses specific individual impairments can lead to a reduction in pain and disability, especially if initiated early on after the onset of symptoms.
Physical therapy treatments may include:
- Manual therapy to decrease pain and improve joint movement
- Dry needling to reduce muscular tension and pain
- Targeted exercises to improve strength and coordination of important neck muscles
Individuals experiencing more moderate-to-severe symptoms may benefit from a multidisciplinary approaching including physical therapy, psychological support and pharmaceutical pain management.
Symptoms of WAD are unique to each individual person. A physical therapist can perform a thorough assessment to determine which factors are contributing to your symptoms, and determine which treatments are most appropriate.
- Elliott, J. M., Noteboom, J. T., Flynn, T. W., & Sterling, M. (2009). Characterization of acute and chronic whiplash-associated disorders. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 39(5), 312–323. https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2009.2826
Physical Therapy Treatment for Cervicogenic Dizziness
Cervicogenic dizziness is dizziness related to problems in the neck. Some people experience dizziness that may be related to problems arising from the cervical spine or neck.
Physical Therapy for Vestibular Disorders (Dizziness and Imbalance)
Approximately 35% of adults over age 40 in the United States have experienced dizziness and/or imbalance due to some type of vestibular disorder; that’s approximately 69 million Americans!
Physical Therapy Treatment for Concussions
Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain is violently shaken during rapid movement changes or when the head is directly hit. This creates changes in the brain’s chemistry and function.