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Whiplash: Can Physio help?

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Yes! Like many necks and other musculoskeletal injuries, physiotherapy assists in relieving pain, strengthening and minimising re-occurrence of the injury.


Generally, after experiencing trauma, neck and headache pain clears within a few days or weeks; and most people recover from whiplash in 3 months.


So what is whiplash?

Image illustrating the mechanism of injury for whiplash. It illustrates neck hyperextension and hyperflexion.

Whiplash or Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) is an injury which results from sudden acceleration-deceleration forces on the neck. The injury can involve structures such as muscle, joints, ligaments and discs.



Whiplash injury. (2019). [Photograph]. Elite Sports & Spine. https://elitesportandspinewi.com/conditions-we-treat/auto-accidents-and-whiplash-injuries/


Symptoms of whiplash


Symptoms vary from person to person, but some common symptoms are:

  • Pain

  • Restricted neck range of motion

  • Cervical spine instability

  • Dizziness

  • Loss of balance

  • Headaches

  • Shoulder, arm or upper back pain


Physiotherapy treatment


It's important to consult a physiotherapist as soon as possible after your accident or whiplash injury.


After a detailed assessment, the physiotherapist will aim to treat clients based on their specific conditions using techniques such as:

  • Education of when to resume normal activity

  • Joint mobilisation

  • Mobilisation exercises

  • Deep and superficial neck flexor strengthening

  • Ultrasound

  • Bio-feedback retraining

  • Coordination and correct recruitment of muscle patterns

  • Neck stability and proprioceptive retraining.


Do you have a neck injury and would like to see a professional physiotherapist for further advice and assessment? Book Here at Breathe Physio & Pilates!


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