Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

Whiplash Muscle Weakness: What Pottsville Residents Need To Know

Whiplash: Muscle Tearing

Whiplash muscle weakness from a rear end car accident involves the stretching of nerves, muscles, and ligaments. The forces are so great during even low speed collisions, that the muscles cannot resist the forces.   Whiplash injury produces inflammation to repair the damaged tissues.  During this time, fast movements of your head and neck will result in pain, so most patients become overly cautious and move their neck very little.

Unfortunately over time, because of the lack of muscle use, these muscles become weak.  This sets up the difficult combination of both damaged ligaments and weak muscles.  Now there is little strength and support for the neck.  This is called whiplash muscle weakness.

Future Injury Increases Because Of Whiplash Muscle Weakness

The weakness may make you very vulnerable to a future injury. Even slight movements can produces flare-ups when the muscles are too weak.  You may feel that your head is too heavy.  Sometimes patients’ injuries from car accidents can be so severe that dizziness develops due to the unbalanced and uncordinated muscle and nerve activity.  This is called cervicogenic vertigo.

If you get dizzy when you move your head, then you may have this condition.

Not All Muscles Become Weak

While it may seem obvious that addressing whiplash muscle weakness is important to a full recovery from a car accident however, there are some muscles that are now overactive.  Specific muscles need to be strengthened in a way that does not cause further damage to the ligaments.  The overactive muscles need to be relaxed and stretched.  This can be done with deep tissue massage or trigger point therapy.  This can help to decrease pain. But the most important thing you can do on a daily basis to help whiplash muscle weakness is to keep exercising.  Both stretching and resistive exercise.  Studies have shown this to be effective in whiplash treatment.

Whiplash Muscle Weakness Needs Specific Treatment

A specific exercise program can be prescribed by a chiropractic physician. The key is to find out what muscles need strengthening and what muscles need relaxing and  lengthening.  We have testing equipment at our office to help find the weak (stretched and torn) and overactive (spastic) muscles.  Only in this way, will the treatment be effective and not risk further trauma. Exercises such as rolling the head around the shoulders should be avoided since the neck is not a ball and socket joint like the shoulder.  In some directions, your neck will have excessive laxity and the exercises for whiplash muscle weakness should be done in the neutral position versus at the end range or limit. Because the ligaments are so badly damaged in whiplash from a car accident, it’s important to maintain the supporting muscles (both strong and flexible), to keep the spine stable and pain free.

Want To Know More?

Doctors’ Choice Physical Medicine and Rehab

Dr. David Novatnak

Glee Pascual, Physical Therapist

Pottsville, Schuylkill, PA

This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your medical history.