Whiplash injuries occur when there is a hyperextension (excessive arching) in the neck, often the result of an impact to the back of the body, as by a fast moving vehicle in a car accident. The victim may be violently accelerated forward, but the head remains behind momentarily, quckly shifting position up and back. Some muscles (mainly scalenes) in a reflex action contract to bring the head forwad again, to prevent excessive injury. Once habituated into a contracted state, the scalene muscles (known as whiplash muscles) will tighten the neck and make movement very uncomfortable.
Many branches of the medical world would lead you to believe that soft tissue (muscles) damage will clear up within 6-10 weeks of an incident. What actually happens is involuntary levels of the brain control muscles after an injury such as whiplash. Meaning, once the whiplash muscles (mainly sclaenes) have reflexively contracted into a protective cringe, they will remain in that state unless instructed otherwise. Chronically contracted neck, (also back & abdominal) muscles will seriously impact upon your ability to turn your head freely. Looking over your shoulder whilst reversing your car will become a very uncomfortable action. This could become even greater if there was an issue with the back/neck before the incident. Certain internal structures of the neck may also become affected, such as joints, intervetebral discs and nerve roots.
Retraining the neck muscles to let go of their habitually contracted state is of great importance if the victim is to experience comfortable free movement again. Hanna Somatic Educations (HSE) technique of slow mindful movements help to stimulate higher levels of the brain to decrease output (contract) to muscles.. This can be acheived on a 1-1 basis and/or via home Somatic exercises, either way the muscles can be retrained into "letting go", promoting a sense of comfort and ease of movement.
Below is a common list of symptoms someone might experience after a whiplash incident. Please contact your Doctor if you are unsure of your symptoms or contact Somatic Living for further imformation.
Difficulty Swallowing, Dizziness, Headaches, Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain, Neck Spasms, Neck Swelling, Numbness in Arms, Shooting Pains in Neck, Stiff Neck, Tenderness in Neck, Tingling in Arms, Vertigo.