Physical Therapy for Whiplash

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Whiplash, also referred to as neck sprain or strain, is an injury to the neck where the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots may become damaged. Most often caused by a car accident, it is an abrupt backward and/or forward jerking of the head. When the soft tissues in your neck become damaged as a result of whiplash, physical therapy in Oceanside may help to restore proper function and movement of those damaged tissues.

Physical Therapy in Oceanside

There are two sides to physical therapy: passive and active. Passive involves treatments which help relax you and your body; you’re not actively participating, hence why it is called passive. Active, on the other hand, involves you actively moving and participating. You are probably experiencing acute pain from the whiplash, therefore we will start you off with passive therapy as your body heals and/or adjusts to the pain, but our goal is to build you up to participate in active physical therapy in Oceanside. 

Passive PT for Whiplash
A few passive treatment options for whiplash patients are:
Deep tissue massage: You may develop muscle tension from whiplash, therefore our physical therapist will use direct pressure and friction to try and release the tension in your soft tissues which should help them heal faster.

Hot and cold therapies: Physical therapists use heat in hopes to get more blood to the affected area as increased blood flow = more oxygen and nutrients. Blood is also necessary to remove waste byproducts which form when the muscle spasms. Cold therapy, on the other hand, slows down circulation which helps reduce inflammation, pain and muscle spasms. Our physical therapist may switch between the two during your session.

***This technique may be used when you first injure yourself in a car accident or any other trauma-inducing event. Use ice first to reduce inflammation, then within the next 24 to 48, switch between hot and cold. Reminder: NEVER place ice or heat directly on the skin; wrap in a towel. ***  

Ultrasound: Increasing blood circulation with an ultrasound may help reduce cramping, muscle spasms, stiffness, swelling, and pain. Sound waves are sent deep into the muscles tissues which creates a gentle heat enhancing healing and circulation.

Active PT for Whiplash
Once your body is relaxed and ready for active physical therapy, our physical therapists will work through a number of strength and range of motion exercises with you. Since each program is individualized to fit your needs, health and history, what works for you may not necessarily work for someone else.

The main goal of PT for whiplash is to increase blood circulation, reduce muscle spasms, and promote healing of the neck tissues in our patients. At The Physical Therapy Experience, we want to provide each patient with a quality care approach which offers effective and innovative treatments to get you back in motion and back to health. If you are a victim of whiplash, choose physical therapy in Oceanside; contact us to get started today.


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