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There are many causes of whiplash (also called a hyperextension injury). The most common cause of whiplash is car accidents. Whiplash occurs when the neck rapidly makes a whip-like motion, first bending towards and then away from the point of impact. This movement causes muscle or ligament sprain or strain to the neck.

Whiplash Symptoms

In about 95 percent of cases, whiplash isn’t severe and causes slight muscle strain or sprain. You should see a healthcare provider immediately after a whiplash injury to avoid chronic problems, especially as whiplash starts in the neck but can later affect nerves and muscles in the arms and back. Whiplash symptoms include shoulder, neck and low back pain and stiffness and headaches.

How Massage Therapy Can Help

Massage therapy can be a very effective treatment for whiplash, providing pain relief, preventing chronic complications, relieving muscular pain and increasing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues to speed the healing process. It can also be a great way to relax after a traumatic injury.

• Friction-based massage can relieve pain and break up scar tissue 
• Trigger-point massage can release tension in the muscles 
• Myofascial massage can restore fluidity to the fascia for improved movement of muscles and ligaments 

One of the key components of recovery after a whiplash injury is to stay active, and to stay engaged in your normal day-to-day activities. It's also important to listen to your body and modify your activities and your exercises based on how you feel. The majority of patients that have whiplash injuries can be treated with safe, non-invasive therapies. If you have a chronic injury, you may require a multi-disciplinary intervention, including psychotherapy, drug therapies and rehabilitation therapies with a physiotherapist.

Talk to your family physician if you'd like more information on whiplash and massage therapy.

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Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider

  • There are many causes of whiplash (also called a hyperextension injury). The most common cause of whiplash is car accidents.

  • In about 95 percent of cases, whiplash isn’t severe and causes slight muscle strain or sprain. You should see a healthcare provider immediately after a whiplash injury to avoid chronic problems, especially as whiplash starts in the neck but can later affect nerves and muscles in the arms and back.

  • Whiplash symptoms include shoulder, neck and low back pain and stiffness and headaches.

  • Massage therapy can be a very effective treatment for whiplash, providing pain relief, preventing chronic complications, relieving muscular pain and increasing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues to speed the healing process. It can also be a great way to relax after a traumatic injury.

  • One of the key components of recovery after a whiplash injury is to stay active, and to stay engaged in your normal day-to-day activities. It's also important to listen to your body and modify your activities and your exercises based on how you feel.

Adherence:
Adhering to your medications, prescribed exercises or lifestyle changes (such as dietary changes, smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, etc.) is essential to improving health outcomes successfully. Compliance to any prescribed treatment is the number one thing you can do to ensure positive changes and optimal treatment outcomes.

Massage therapy can reduce inflammation, decrease pain, improve circulation and much more. A massage therapist can offer customized treatments to prevent and treat injury and illness including craniosacral massage, manual lymph drainage, and neuromuscular massage; they can also help you create an at-home stretching routine.

Registered Massage Therapist is a health care professional who specializes in helping patients reduce pain, relax and achieve optimal health. He or she has completed education, clinical hours and passed an exam to become registered. A Registered Massage Therapist performs techniques such as craniosacral massage, Manual Lymph Drainage, neuromuscular massage and prenatal massage. In treating patients the  registered massage therapist therapist can also educate them on massage for muscle pain and massage for sports injuries.

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