Whiplash is a very common injury after car accidents. In most cases, whiplash heals on its own and the patient only needs some over the counter painkillers to deal with it. However, there are a few rarer cases where the pain can remain for a very long time, and some other troublesome symptoms can occur as well. If it lasts for more than half a year, it is classed as late whiplash syndrome, or chronic whiplash. In many cases, these patients need additional help, and physical therapy is generally recommended. Whiplash occurs when a muscle tenses in a certain direction and is then forced to abruptly move in the opposite direction. This happens during collisions, where people tense up before being flown back into their seat, effectively sending their muscles into a kind of spasm.
Unfortunately, there is still no scientific evidence to demonstrate what works best on whiplash. As with any muscular injury, it is known that it is very important for people to keep the neck mobile as much as possible. Very often, those who have chronic whiplash are also prescribed stronger painkillers. Unfortunately, because strong pain killers only mask the problem, have adverse side effects and can be addictive, it is important to only use these as little as possible. It is for this reason that physiotherapy is often recommended. A physiotherapist will use various methods to stimulate and manipulate the affected muscles, for instance by using TENS machines. Furthermore, patients will receive instructions on a number of movements that they should do at home to keep the area mobile. However, it is particularly about this that some questions have been raised recently.
The benefits of physical therapy are somewhat blighted by two specific issues. 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. Another problem is that waiting lists tend to be very long, which means people can be made to live with chronic pain for a substantial amount of time. 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 could mean that it would be a good idea to educate medical physicians and the public at large, so that they can help themselves much quicker. 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.