What is whiplash?
Whiplash can occur when a sudden jolt or stopping force causes the head to move violently away from the body. This results in injury to certain structures of the neck.
- Motor vehicle accidents – head-on, rear-end and sideways collisions can all result in whiplash injury
- Contact sports e.g. boxing, rugby and american football
- A blow to the head
- Neck pain
- Pain into the shoulder or the arm
The average recovery time is a few weeks, however for some it may take several months. There are several ways to improve your chances of having a speedy recovery. Here are our top tips:
- Continue with all day-to-day activities as able. Early return to sport will be encouraged and guided by your physiotherapist.
- Ensure your pain is adequately managed – you may need to see your GP for prescription pain-relief.
- Ensure you are including ‘active treatment’. You should be given some mobility and strengthening exercises as part of your recovery. Early mobilisation of the neck, although uncomfortable, is recommended in the vast majority of cases. Restoration of movement at an early stage is now known to be vital for a speedy recovery. Immobilisation (wearing a neck collar) is not recommended in the majority of cases. While immobilisation may feel better in the short term, it is associated with poorer outcomes and longer recovery times.