Whiplash – A holistic view

Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful or not so forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. Like the cracking of a whip, it usually occurs from a rear-end car accident.

Whiplash – A holistic view


Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful (and sometimes not-so forceful), rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. But a whiplash injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma.

Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually develop within 24 hours of the injury and may include: Neck pain and stiffness. Worsening of pain with neck movement and Headaches, there may also be tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms. These symptoms can sometimes be frustratingly difficult to resolve!

Consider someone who has suffered a whiplash injury during a motor vehicle accident, and who hasn’t fully recovered. Although she has treatment, periodically she suffers from acute symptoms of muscle spasm, nerve impingement and restricted range of movement.

This in turn causes negative thought patterns and emotions, with considerable disruption in lifestyle. Depression is one of the cluster of symptoms that occur with whiplash!!

Severe emotional stress would also have accompanied the accident, so the mental emotional aspect of the injury would also be involved in the primary cause and the ongoing symptoms.

Although the she may have had numerous treatments, a full recovery would not have occurred since the psychological aspect of the injury hasn’t been addressed.

There must also be a nutritional component to the injury. The damage to the nervous system will have caused improper digestion; this combined with the loss of appetite from depression will have a detrimental effect on the neuro-endocrine system and may lead to hormonal imbalances.

This cycle would continue to grow upon itself. When we look at this hypothetical case it is clear that working from only one side of the Triad of Health, the structural side with massage, mobilisation etc, will not resolve the symptoms on a permanent basis!

As a self-help option you may consider doing these following isometric strengthening exercises.

Isometric means “no movement”.

Hold each position for the count of five and repeat each exercise five times.

Your health is important, so treat any injury, ailment or condition with utmost care. If symptoms persist or you experience an increase in pain and discomfort, please contact your physiotherapist immediately. If you are not sure how this all applies to you or where to turn for assistance, please make contact with us and we will gladly offer you some additional guidance.

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