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What is whiplash?

The term whiplash describes the “whip” action that occurs with the head and neck when there is a deceleration or acceleration neck injury. Most commonly this is due to a car accident, but may occur with a fall of any sort, eg skiing or cycling.

What do I do if I have whiplash?  

Whiplash, whatever the cause, should always first be checked by having an x-ray or MRI/CT scan. This rules out any fracture or other structural damage which may require the neck to be immobilized in a brace. If there is nothing significant found with imaging, then you should start physiotherapy.

Relief from pain with physiotherapy  

It is important that the neck be treated very gently at first, remembering that you are recovering from a strong sprain and need time to heal. If treated gently early, and more actively later, you have the best chance of getting back to normal. Moving as normally as possible is also encouraged, rather than holding the head rigidly.

Initially, physiotherapy treatment may include gentle massage and mobilisation, ultrasound and ice or heat. Exercises to regain use of muscles and increase your neck movement will also be given. At Macquarie Street Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists will help with treatment, exercises and advice. They will direct how quickly you get back into daily activities, and later back to sport, etc.


Macquarie Street Physio