Neck injury or trauma can occur in a variety of different circumstances. Most commonly, during an automobile accident is when severe neck and head trauma occur. When a vehicle suddenly comes to a complete stop, or changes direction rapidly, the weight of the head and the inertia it has gained while traveling in the automobile may cause the neck to bend back and forth, stretching the muscles in the neck and upper back well-beyond their normal range of motion. This over-extension can cause major damage to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons that support the head and allow for regular movement. This type of neck injury is commonly referred to as whiplash, and entails a number of painful symptoms that will need to be treated by a trained and certified massage professional.
What Causes This Pain?
Whiplash causes the muscles and tendons of the neck to stretch and potentially to tear. Additionally, in some cases, severe whiplash can damage the cervical vertebrae of the neck and cause nerve sensitivity and damage. The pain associated with whiplash is often directly correlated to the speed at which the jerking occurs and the level of force exerted on the neck muscles, as well as the physiological structure of the victim.
Symptoms of Neck Injury
There are many differing symptoms that may be associated with whiplash or other neck muscle injuries. Most often, whiplash will cause a decreased range of motion in the neck and shoulders, stiffness, and occasional stabbing pains. This tension can also lead to headaches and soreness between the eyes and at the base of the skull. In more traumatic cases, whiplash has been associated with aching behind the eyes, stiffness in the upper back and shoulders, upper body numbness, jaw pain, nausea, and dizziness.
Treating Neck Injury
When neck injuries such as whiplash occur, physicians will often prescribe the victim wear a neck brace for an extended period of time. Recently, doctors have become keen to the positive effects regular massage therapy can have for severe neck injury victims. By engaging the injured muscles and tendons of the neck with gentle pressure and heat, the victim can begin to improve their range of motion and gradually decrease neck and head stiffness and pain.
Deep-tissue neck massage is useful in improving blood flow through the affected area as well. This in-turn increases oxygen flow to the site of the injury. Increased blood and oxygen flow helps speed up recovery and loosen the muscles that have been torn or over-extended.
The Importance of Follow-up
Even though someone suffering from whiplash may feel better after just one massage session, it is important to continue with weekly massage therapy of the neck, upper back, and head for several months after an injury has occurred. A single session will provide a momentary respite from neck pain and tension, but often this tension and stiffness will return if left untreated. Regular heating of the neck muscles, and professional massage therapy are vital to achieving complete recovery on the shortest possible time line.
Reach Out for Professional Services
If you have been unfortunate enough to have suffered from whiplash, or other severe neck injury caused by an accident, it is important to contact an insured and certified professional familiar with treating such injuries. In some cases, portions of therapy may be covered by your insurance. To find out more information about neck injury rehabilitation and recovery, contact us online or by phone today.