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The truth about whiplash

25 Nov 2010

During the winter time, the number of car accidents in the GTA inevitably rises. According to Toronto Police Services there were over 10,000 reported motor vehicle accident injuries within the GTA in 2008. Of those injuries, neck injuries, specifically whiplash, were the most reported. In fact, up to 83% of those involved in an automobile accident report experiencing whiplash. Although many are aware of the term “whiplash” very few people understand the impact this specific injury has on chronic pain development. It has been estimated that 15-40% of whiplash sufferers will develop chronic neck pain. These facts are alarming, which is why it is imperative that everyone understands the importance of receiving the appropriate treatment early in order to prevent chronic pain from developing. Chronic pain is best treated with early intervention and education.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash involves the tearing of muscles and ligaments in the neck following a quick and forceful stretch and contraction of the neck. It is associated with pain not only in the neck but also in the jaw and upper shoulders. It can also result in headaches, ringing in the ear and numbness and/or tingling in the arms and hands.

What Can You Do?

If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important that you seek treatment immediately. Keep in mind; you may not experience symptoms right away but a few days to a week later. When seeking treatment you want to ensure that you meet with a licensed health care professional. This may include a chiropractor or physiotherapist. Your first treatment should consist of a thorough examination to confirm the diagnosis of whiplash.  Treatment will vary for each individual but there should be both active and passive components.  This may include a combination of the following:

  • Spinal Manipulative Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Heat/Cold Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound/Laser Therapy/ Electric Stimulation
  • Active Rehabilitation including Exercise/Physical Therapy

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