People are sometimes surprised at having symptoms after a minor road traffic accident. But even a collision at slow speed may cause enough jerking of the neck to create symptoms.
What is whiplash?
The 'whiplash' is the rapid acceleration and deceleration force on your neck when your car is bumped. Your head is pulled forward sharply then flipped back, causing strains in the muscles and ligaments in the neck.
In a side-on collision the strains may be more on one side than the other.
That much is well known. But what is less understood are the effects of such trauma on other parts of the body.
The whole body can get jerked upwards, straining the spine. Then it slams down again, restrained by the seat belt or airbag, now compressing the spine. All this happens in a fraction of a second. At the same time, the internal organs of the body are also being jolted by the same forces.
So a whiplash is in effect a whole-body injury, and while the neck may be the most obvious site affected, other areas may also suffer.
In my experience, head and neck symptoms can persist for long periods, but may resolve better if other areas of the body are addressed as well.
What are the signs to look out for?
Your symptoms can be immediate or they can come on gradually, taking a few days, weeks or months to manifest completely. At first, you may feel that you haven’t been injured, and for a few days you may not have any symptoms.
A whiplash of the neck rarely, if ever, results in symptoms exclusively at the neck; in fact the whole body will experience the repercussions of the injury.
Some of the symptoms you may notice are:
- Turning or bending your neck is difficult
- Your back feels stiff or painful, anywhere along your spine
- You have numbness or tingling in your neck, into one or both arms or even into your face and head
- Your muscles feel weak and tired, all over your body
- You’re finding it hard to swallow (from overstretch of the throat muscles)
- You’re getting headaches, sometimes with pain in your jaw or behind your eyes
Important: You should seek immediate medical attention if you have loss of consciousness or memory, blurred vision or dizziness.
What happens in a session?
I will ask you about your symptoms and general health. I may assess your range of movement by asking you to gently move your neck.
I use a range of techniques to speed up your body's recovery from the whiplash.
The specific aims are to:
- restore flexibility, by gently articulating your joints and stretching your muscles
- relieve muscle tension and spasm and restore normal circulation to your muscles, with massage or craniosacral therapy
- lessen the strain on your neck, by helping you to improve your posture
- strengthen your neck and affected muscles, usually after the pain is gone, to help prevent recurring symptoms, using gentle exercises that I will recommend for you
Most people find the treatment relaxing, and any mild discomfort usually settles a short time after treatment.
For an appointment, please contact me today. I look forward to meeting you.