Whiplash is a term that describes a neck injury caused by sudden or excessive movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways.

This is an injury that is commonly caused by rear-end or side impact collisions in road traffic accidents.  Neck pain and headaches are typical symptoms.

As well as road traffic accidents, whiplash can also be caused by a sudden blow to the head, for example during contact sports, such as boxing or rugby; and slipping on icy ground is another common cause during winter.  Vigorous and sudden movement of the head and neck can overstretch and damage the muscles and ligaments in your neck

Often the first reaction to a whiplash associated injury is shock.  The neck pain and stiffness may not begin immediately and it may take several hours after the accident before the symptoms appear.  The pain and stiffness is often worse the day after your accident.

Typical features of whiplash include neck pain that may refer to the shoulder or arm, headaches, muscle spasm and reduced neck movement.  You may also experience tiredness and difficulty concentrating.

In the acute stage of whiplash, it is important to have the right advice and information.  You should be encouraged to return to usual activities and early movement of the neck, discouraging the use of soft collars. The use of painkillers is advised to keep symptoms to a manageable level and help with sleeping.

Physiotherapy is recommended within current guidelines for the effective management of whiplash associated disorders and we have extensive experience in successfully dealing with this condition and helping you return to full function (NICE CKS, 2014).

At the Centre for Clinical Physiotherapy we offer a wide range of services and treatments to effectively manage whiplash injuries.  Treatments include massage and gentle stretching of soft tissue and muscles, passive joint movement of the neck, acupuncture and strengthening exercises.  Your treatment programme will be tailored to your individual needs.  Treatments are delivered by highly skilled and experienced physiotherapists who are passionate about delivering a quality service and the best possible results for you.

If you would like some general advice on what exercises you can start doing before you see us then we would recommend clicking on the link below which will take you to those recommended by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) website.

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