Therapy for whiplash


Medical treatment of whiplash

If over-the-counter medications and home remedies are not sufficient, the doctor may recommend the following measures:

  • Painkillers: for severe pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs for short, such as ibuprofen, can provide short-term relief.
  • An injection of narcotic (lidocaine) into the aching muscle can relieve muscle spasms and contractures that may be related to whiplash.
  • Muscle relaxants (muscle relaxants) from the group of benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), reduce muscle spasm and muscle tension.

Physiotherapy plays a key role in the treatment of whiplash:

  • Heat treatment in the form of a warming neck squirrel, a hot water bottle or similar
  • Manual forms of therapy, such as massage treatments, muscle and vertebral manipulations relieve tension and reduce muscle stiffness.
  • Among the physical forms of treatment, ultrasoundTecar, and laser therapy may be helpful in relieving inflammation.

If the pain allows, McKenzie’s cervical spine exercises help relieve pain and other symptoms, such as tingling in the arm and dizziness.

Many symptoms are temporary, for example, numbness, hearing loss (hypakusis) and dizziness usually disappear within a month of the accident.

The neck brace, which used to be often prescribed for whiplash, is no longer used in this way today. A long immobilization of the neck can lead to a decrease in muscle strength and stiffening of the spine, which would interfere with healing.
If the doctor recommends the temporary wearing of a stiff neck brace, it must not be worn for more than three hours at a time and only in the first three days after the accident.
If sleep is impaired by the pain, especially in the first few days after the trauma, the neck brace can provide relief.

If symptoms have stabilized or improved, the doctor will recommend a program of stretching exercises to restore smooth, pain-free movement. These usually include head rotations, as well as bending the head forward, backward and to the side.

Natural remedies for whiplash

Warm pads on the shoulder, neck and back are perceived by many whiplash victims as a relief.
Heat is particularly effective for relaxing the muscles before starting exercises to regain range of motion.

There are numerous alternative forms of therapy that are used to treat pain in whiplash:

In acupuncture, very fine needles are inserted into certain points of the body; different types of pain can be treated.
Scientific studies have not been able to provide definitive evidence on whether acupuncture can relieve persistent neck pain caused by overstretching.

Many patients visit a chiropractor for neck pain; it has been shown that certain types of neck pain have been as good, but not better, than physical therapies. The combination of vertebral manipulation and physiotherapy exercises brings greater benefits. However, chiropractic manipulation of the neck can cause serious injuries in very rare cases.

Massage therapy of the neck muscles can be effective if muscle spasms or contractures have been occurring for more than a week.
The muscles should be loosened before the massage with a hot shower or with the help of a towel warmed up in the microwave.

How long are the healing times for whiplash?

How long the symptoms last (healing prognosis) varies individually and depends on the following factors:

How long does bed rest last?

If bed rest or immobilization lasts longer than two days, the muscles and joints become stiff and movement is restricted.
Therefore, the activities that do not cause pain should be resumed on the third day and, above all, therapy should be started.

Can whiplash be treated in the acute phase?

Yes, but only certain forms of treatment are recommended; the McKenzie method can be used immediately because it acts mechanically on the joint and is not a massage.
Tecar therapy® can also be helpful within the first two days after the trauma, but must be done in the absence of heat (athermia) or at body temperature, because excessive heating of the inflamed neck can worsen the situation.

How long does the collar have to be worn?

This question makes me smile every timeif the patient does not have a fracture of the cervical spine, no neck brace is necessary.

Studies from the 80s prove the benefits of exercise after whiplash, as well as the damage that can be caused by immobility.
Unfortunately, patients with a neck brace still come to the practice today.
The neck brace continuously puts the cervical spine under tensile stress; if it is removed, the patient feels a feeling of nausea and dizziness.
immobilization of a joint causes the weakening of muscles and tendons, premature osteoarthritis, osteopenia and stiffness; all these effects can be avoided by exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can neck massages be performed?

In the days immediately following the accident, massages should not be performed, because they could revive the discomfort, but in the second phase of rehabilitation they help to relieve muscle tension.

Despite laser, ultrasound and massage, no healing has occurred, for what reason?

The above forms of therapy have a local anti-inflammatory, tension-relieving and decongestant effect, in addition, the healing activity of the tissues is stimulated.
If the problem has not been solved, there are complaints of a mechanical nature, i.e. the bones of a joint are not correctly aligned or a muscle is shortened or superimposed and interferes both during movement and at rest.
In this case, only manual therapy is effective, in the form of articular and myofascial techniques.

There are osteopathic and physiotherapeutic methods that can restore the axis alignment of the joints (Maitland, Mulligan, Kaltenborn, McKenzie, etc.), while myofascial manipulation techniques release the tensions in the connective tissue responsible for the painful muscle adhesions.
Manual traction is an excellent alternative treatment that can be used in patients without lesions; in this case, the cervical spine is put under tensile stress, which is then released extremely slowly; afterwards, patients feel a feeling of well-being and lightness that has never been felt before.
Mechanical traction on a chair with chin rest used to be widely used, but then neglected because the desired results could not be achieved.

When can physiotherapy be started?

It is important not to wait too long with physiotherapy, otherwise there is also a risk of stiffness caused by inactivity.
I recommend starting physiotherapy within a week after the trauma, because with timely treatment, a quick cure can occur.

Why does the doctor speak of healing if there is still pain?

The doctor looks for injuries to the bones, tendons, intervertebral discs, etc., which are visible on the magnetic resonance; If the patient does not show any damage in this regard, he is structurally healthy for the doctor, but the pain may be caused by something that is not indicated by the imaging diagnostic procedure.

What compensation does the insurance company pay in the event of a rear-end collision?

Compensation for whiplash can be divided into four categories:

  • Biological damage caused by permanent disability, in this case, can range from 0 to 2%.
  • Damage caused by temporary incapacity for work.
  • Costs incurred.
  • Actual loss.

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