Whiplash Treatment

at Body Smart Health
WHIPLASH ASSOCIATED DISORDERS (WAD

“Whiplash” is an acceleration-deceleration mechanism of energy transfer to the neck.  It may result from rear-end or side-impact motor vehicle collisions, but can also occur during diving or other mishaps such as concussions, sports injuries or work-related injuries.  The impact may result in bony or soft-tissue injuries (whiplash injury), which in turn may lead to a variety of clinical manifestations.(Spine April 15, 1995 Suppl. Vol 20 – no 8s).

“Soft-tissue injuries” are injuries that affect in particular muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, joint capsules, and the fascia layers between muscles.  The severity of the soft-tissue injury depends on the individual patient involved, and the nature and circumstances of the injury.  (Dr. Cecil Hershler)
SYMPTOMS

The most common symptoms are:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Ringing in The Ears
  • Jaw Pain
  • Fatigue and Weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Tingling and Numbness in Fingers and/or Arms
  • Pain (face, head, neck, back)
  • Sensitivity to Noise
  • Memory Loss or Forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Spasm
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Dizziness and/or Nausea

DEGREE OF INJURY

The degree of injury may be affected by any of the following factors:  length of neck, weight of head, head position upon impact, anticipation, type of vehicles, use of seat belts and head rests, angle and speed of impact, age, previous injuries, structural defects plus the general state of health and fitness.
CLASSIFICATION OF WAD:

Grade 1:  Neck complaint of pain, stiffness, or tenderness only.  No physical signs.

Grade 2: Neck complaint and musculoskeletal signs which include decreased range of motion and point tenderness.

Grade 3: Neck complaint and neurological signs which include decreased or absent deep tendon flexes, weakness, and sensory deficits.

MASSAGE THERAPY TREATMENT PROGRAM FOR WHIPLASH

The program will consist of active treatments such as therapeutic exercises, and treatments such as hands-on therapy for the soft tissues in the affected regions.  According to the Quebec Task Force of Spinal Disorders.  “Massage (therapy) is the most frequently used therapy for musculoskeletal problems, and is particularly useful in controlling pain.”*

Massage Therapy plays a key role in WAD rehabilitation by decreasing muscle spasm and pain, restoring pain-free range of motion, improving muscle strength, endurance and tone, minimizing adhesions, eliminating inflammatory by-products, and reducing headaches.
PRINCIPLES OF TREATMENT

Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) are trained in a variety of treatment modalities.
Your individualized treatment program provided by your RMT will include extensive time in your session and will:

  • Educate you regarding your condition.
  • Maintain and increase your cardiovascular capacity.
  • Prevent chronic conditions.
  • Control the congestion of irritated/painful areas.
  • Help you return to normal activities as soon as possible.

The RMT program is based on current medical research and on the best practice guidelines provided by the MTA of BC.

COMPLICATIONS

MUSCLE SPASMS

Muscles can be overstretched, strained, torn, or bruised by a whiplash injury.  This results in muscle spasm, limitation of cervical spine range of motion, and alteration of normal neck curvature.

STRAINS AND SPRAINS

A sprain or a strain represents an overstretching (first degree) or a tearing (second to fourth degree) that occurs due to injury to a ligament (sprain) or to a muscle tendon (strain).

NERVE ROOT IRRITATION OR NERVE STRETCHING

This is pain originating where the nerve leaves the spinal cord, and radiating along the course of the nerve.  Nerves can be overstretched but remain intact or they can actually be torn.

SECONDARY COMPLICATIONS

Secondary complications such as shoulder, chest, mid or low-back pain or discomfort may occur.
*QTF on Spinal Disorders, Spine 12, no 7, Suppl: (Sep 1987):sl-59

 

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