Whiplash refers to acute injury to the neck sustained from an impact, such as that which occurs in a car accident. This can range from extreme pain and injury or to just minimal tightness or tenderness – depending on the speed and severity of impact. Research has shown that even low speed collisions without immediate pain can cause dysfunction of the cervical spine in the future, and can predispose the individual to conditions such as headaches and various types of neck pain. Therefore, when in a car accident it is recommended to have the injury evaluated.
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the injury. For cases of significant pain and swelling treatment will need to focus on decreasing pain and inflammation with low-intensity laser therapy, ice, rest, and gentle stretching and exercises. As pain and swelling subsides treatment can begin to focus on specific joint and muscle dysfunction and start to restore motion through Myofascial Release Techniques (MRT) and chiropractic adjustments. As treatment progresses strengthening of the injured muscles will have to be accomplished through functional rehabilitation to ensure full resolution of the problem and prevent any future dysfunction.