Therapeutic Ultrasound for Whiplash Injuries
A whiplash injury is seen mostly in car accidents and is caused by a sudden, forceful movement of the neck. The most common form of injury happens when the neck is moved backwards then forwards with a lot of force and velocity. Whiplash mostly affects the muscles of the neck and in more severe cases, may damage ligaments, joints, and discs in the cervical spine.
Conservative treatment for whiplash usually focuses on supporting the neck with a neck brace. This allows the injured muscles and structures to heal without having to support the weight of the head. With whiplash you also see a lot of muscle tension and inflammation and lack of movement from the injured person. It is very important to improve circulation to the injured area and without the patient actively moving the neck this can be difficult and can slow the healing time.
Ultrasound therapy is a helpful tool for pain treatment, muscle relaxation, decreasing inflammation, and improving circulation to the neck. This form of passive treatment will help to accelerate the healing process and allow the patient to gain mobility in the neck at a much faster rate. This is possible by the release of high frequency sound waves that are transferred to the neck from the machine. The sound waves travel deep into the neck muscles and create internal heat. Once the pain has decreased, the patient should start to move the neck actively to regain their full range of motion and relieve muscle tension.