Whiplash Injury Car Accident Physiotherapy in downtown Toronto
Whiplash injury can happen in a split second. Whiplash injuries are most commonly associated with automotive accidents (especially rear-end collisions). Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) occurs when the neck goes through acceleration-deceleration causing injuries to the neck including the muscles, joints, discs, nerves, ligaments, etc.
Whiplash injuries cause a varying degree of damage to bones and soft tissues that may lead to a partial or significant degree of disability and discomfort. For example, the most common form of whiplash injury occurs in drivers sitting in stationary vehicle. The vehicle is stuck from the rear. The impact causes excessive stretching of the neck muscles due to the push and pull on cervical vertebrae which, in turn, results in moderate to significant trauma to the soft tissues (i.e. the fascia, capsules and muscles) attached to the vertebrae.
What is a whiplash injury?
In simple terms, any injury that results from ‘whipping’ the head and neck suddenly backwards and then suddenly forward without giving the neck muscles, ligaments and tissues time to adjust or relax is referred to as whiplash.
This sudden shaking of the head and neck over-extends (and possibly tears) the supporting neck muscles, ligaments and tissues. It can happen when sitting in a parked car; driving safely around town; bungee jumping; playing contact sports; or simply falling from some height.
Signs and symptoms of whiplash injuries:
Whiplash often presents as a collection of symptoms. The first symptoms may not develop for 24 hours or more after the initial injury. In order to reduce the chances of the injury prolonging, it is important to seek out the assistance of a qualified Physiotherapist in downtown Toronto.
Signs and symptoms of whiplash includes:
- moderate to severe stiffness of neck;
- agonizing pain around the base of skull and around neck region;
- non-specific symptoms like dizziness, weakness and tiredness out of proportion to the level of physical activity;
- ringing in ear;
- frozen shoulder or limited range of shoulder mobility due to pain and stiffness.
For some, whiplash may become a chronic pain disorder and include the following sign and symptoms :
- alteration in memory and recall;
- difficulty in concentration and cognitive thinking;
- disturbances in sleeping pattern.
How does a whiplash injury develop?
Whiplash is caused by any sudden impact that forces the neck and head backward and then forward without allowing the neck time to properly adjust to the movement. The neck ligaments are over-extended, resulting in damage to the tissues and potential neck strain. The most common situations in which this type of injury may occur are:
- car accident
- violent fist fights or boxing injuries;
- roller coasters, or anything that may aggressively shake your neck;
- contact sports such as football ;
- interesting note is that whiplash injuries occur at higher rate in female as compared to male, primarily because the neck muscles and ligaments are much stronger in males than females.