Have you been in a car accident?
If so, have you heard of WAD?
Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) involve a cluster of symptoms that one typically experiences after a car accident or whiplash injury. These symptoms may include neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, cognitive disturbances, and psychological issues. In addition, one can experience numbness/tingling in the arms and symptoms of a concussion.
Whiplash injuries can lead to pain, disability, missed time from work, financial burden, anxiety, stress, and frustration. It can be overwhelming and confusing to find helpful treatment. It’s important to take action now because a study showed that up to 55% of people experience residual negative effects 17 years later after their initial whiplash injury.
Another study by Rosenfeld et al. provides guidance to identity what works and what does not work for whiplash injuries. The study shows that an active approach to recovery improves the long-term outcome after whiplash injuries in comparison to the traditional, standard approach.
The traditional, standard approach involved rest, wearing a soft collar, and performing exercises a “few weeks” after the injury. These exercises consisted of general range of motion exercises for the neck and shoulder.
The active approach was initiated early after the injury and involved a detailed assessment using the McKenzie Method to identify specific repeated movements, postures, and activities that would benefit the participant. The active approach included a home exercise program that emphasized self-care strategies and eliminating any fear of movement.
At a three year follow-up visit, the active approach led to greater improvements in pain intensity, neck range of motion, and reduced sick leave at work than the traditional approach.
The results of this randomized-control trial make a strong case that people with whiplash injuries should not be afraid to move their neck. They should also be educated using principles from the McKenzie Method, and focus on a self-care program at home instead of being over-prescribed exercises in the clinic.
Did you receive an active approach?