Whiplash & Associated Disorders

Whiplash-Associated Disorders (WAD) has been adopted as the definition of acute or sub-acute neck pain.

WAD may result from car, workplace or sporting accidents.

What are the common signs and symptoms of WAD?

The symptoms associated with WAD can vary, and may include headaches, neck or arm pain, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, inability to concentrate, blurred vision, or a feeling that the head has to be supported (“heavy head syndrome”).

What should I do if I have recently been involved in a car accident?

If you have recently suffered a motor vehicle accident you will need to consult your local doctor for an initial examination and appropriate diagnostic testing. It is to be remembered that over 60% of all whiplash injuries will fully recover with time, appropriate treatment and management from a qualified health practitioner.

Do I need an X-ray?

Not necessarily. Often the damage caused by a whiplash injury will not show up on standard medical tests such as X-ray or CT scans. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your treating practitioner will make the appropriate recommendations regarding further diagnostic testing.

What Should I Do In The First Week Following A Whiplash Injury?

Stage 1: Inflammatory Stage (1 -4 days)

Rest by lying on your back on the bed rather than the couch.

Neck rotations (6 – 10 every hour) can be performed in this position.

Also include 6 – 10 repetitions of each of shoulder shrugs/circles and basic arm/shoulder range of motion exercises every hour. Consult your Thorpes Physiotherapist for exercise instructions.

Consult your treating practitioner about advice regarding the application of heat and/or ice.

Walking for 15-20 minute periods 2 -3 times each day in this phase is recommended.

Refrain from sport of moderate intensity. NO CONTACT SPORT.

Stage 2: Gradual Return To Full Activity (3 – 6 weeks)

This phase may extend 3 – 6 weeks post whiplash trauma. Consult your Thorpes Physiotherapist regarding the use of soft tissue, manipulation and specific neck and shoulder rehabilitation exercises.