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What Everybody Ought to Know About Whiplash

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Whiplash is an experience that many people suffer following many different types of accidents, but it is most greatly associated with rear-contact road traffic injuries.  Whiplash is a particularly controversial subject in the world of medicine.  Often the diagnosis of whiplash is more disabling for the patient and rather than allowing the patient to move forward and progress their rehabilitation after the diagnostic period, the UK has become focused on the stigma of long lasting neck pain following injury.

According to research, UK residents being treated for whiplash have one of the greatest durations of injury symptoms and time away from work when compared to other nations. The lowest duration of injury symptoms are seen in countries that do not have sophisticated insurance and claims organisations.  Research has shown that after 2 months following a minor incident, where there is no remnant of musculoskeletal injury or any physical evidence of remaining injury, patients can still be complaining of symptoms up to 3 years following the accident.

With whiplash, the high velocity hyperextension (bending backwards) of the neck, followed by the hyperflexion (bending forwards) recoil, there are lots of tissues that can be damaged. The muscles and connective tissue on both the front and back of the neck can be overstretched, resulting in spasm and pain on movement. Many patients will be reluctant to move their neck, however, this only further disables the client causing the neck to become chronically stiff and cause anxiety whenever the head is moved.

The most important aspect of physiotherapy following this injury is to maintain movement in the neck.  Soft tissue massage to reduce the spasm can also be very helpful and reassuring to the patient, as well as other techniques such as acupuncture addressing the physical components.

Are you suffering from whiplash?  Our physios can work with you following the injury providing both physical and psychological help in regaining normal function in your neck and upper back.  Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email

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