For People With Whiplash, Physical Therapy Might Actually Help

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in people have been involved in a car accident. Generally speaking, whiplash requires little else than some over the counter painkillers for it to get better. However, there are some cases where the pain is more severe and long lasting, and where other complications can occur too. If it lasts for more than half a year, it is classed as late whiplash syndrome, or chronic whiplash. As these people tend to require further help, they often turn towards physical therapy. Whiplash occurs when a muscle tenses in a certain direction and is then forced to abruptly move in the opposite direction. When in a collision car accident, the muscles of the neck tense up on impact, but the body is then flung back in the opposite direction almost straight away, causing the muscles to go into spasm.

It may come as a surprise that there is very little scientific knowledge about what sort of treatment works best on whiplash. Whiplash affects the muscles and we know that keeping the muscles mobile is the best way to reduce permanent injury. Most people who have late whiplash syndrome find that stronger painkillers can be highly beneficial. However, it is important to take great care with strong painkillers as they can mask problems rather than curing them, have various side effects and sometimes have addictive properties. As such, physiotherapy seems to be a much better idea. A physiotherapist will use various methods to stimulate and manipulate the affected muscles, for instance by using TENS machines. Furthermore, they will instruct their patients to perform certain movements at home to keep the muscles soft. However, this homework element has recently come under a degree of scrutiny.

Two negative issues surround physical therapy. The first and biggest problem is the expense associated with physical therapy, which can be far too high for people who don’t have sufficient medical coverage. The second issue is that clinics often have long waiting times, meaning people have to continue to suffer. There is some evidence to suggest that it is the exercises that people have to do at home that actually heal the whiplash quicker than anything else. This means that there is a scope for training regular medical professionals and their patients on these exercises, so that they can start working on healing themselves immediately. On the other hand, this will require a significant investment of money and time in training other professionals, as doing the movements incorrectly could actually exasperate the situation.