165 Lilly Rd NE, Suite B, Olympia • 360.455-8014

Whiplash

Do you have whiplash pain? Want to get better? You can!

Do you have whiplash pain? Have you been in a car accident and been rear ended or hit from the side? You don't need to be in a car accident to have whiplash; I had whiplash as a child when I fell head first off my bike at age 6 and knocked my 2 front teeth out.

Whiplash can cause significant pain. You may have headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain and tingling in your arms.

whiplash image

Neck pain
whiplash


Whiplash hurts; the sooner you get treatment, the sooner you will feel better. How can physical therapy help? Our physical therapists can massage injured muscles, for example, the muscles pictured to the right.
Referral pain pattern  headaches from sternocleidomastoid

Referral pain pattern
headaches from sternocleidomastoid

We will also give customized gentle exercises to get your muscles back on the path to recovery. Other treatments designed to reduce the pain such as ultrasound, electric stimulation and cold laser can be provided. We can coordinate care with other providers such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, and massage therapists as needed.

At Comstock Physical Therapy the Muscles In-Sync approach reduces muscle spasms, increases mobility and increases strength.

Science tells us with whiplash the core muscles in your neck become out of sync or out of order. They need to be retrained to contract in the right order, then strengthening will be a lot less painful and your results will last.

Longus Colli and Capitas

Longus Colli and Capitas
“Core” muscles of the neck

Why is there a need for a "special" training program? If you have whiplash the normal sequence of the muscles contracting becomes disordered. Normally the core muscles contract to make your neck stable, then large muscles (sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) pull on the neck to rotate it or pull on your neck as you lift your arm.

After whiplash, large muscles (the big ones you can see on the sides of your neck) contract first to splint the neck. The problem is, the right order of muscle contraction does not come back and the large muscles (sternocleidomastoid

sternocleidomastoid

sternocleidomastoid

and scalenes
scalenes

scalenes

) keep contracting, which causes headaches (see the headache referral pattern for sternocleidomastoid) and arm tingling and pain (see the scalene brachial plexus picture below). We will massage these muscles to help them relax and retrain.

“Wikipedia medical illustration thoracic outlet syndrome brachial plexus anatomy with labels” by Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D. – Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg#/media/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg

>What can you try at home to help this pain?  Nod your head in little tiny nods, like you are nodding "yes" to getting better. Also, ice is helpful after you first hurt your neck and heat for stiff muscles.

photo (1)

 

 

Give us a call at 360-455-8014 to schedule an appointment to get relief from your whiplash pain!

Physical Therapy in Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey, Where should I go?

There are many fine physical therapy clinics in the Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey area. How do you chose where to go?

You can choose based on location. A friend of mine told me today she chose to go to physical therapy at a clinic close to her house. What would prompt a close choice versus reputation? Maybe she needed to go 2 or 3 times per week. If someone needs to go to PT 2 or 3 times a week for a month or so, then going close to your house would be very convenient, HOWEVER, ask yourself the question: does your condition warrant 2 or 3 times per week?

Recently a former patient returned for a new session of physical therapy. She is a fairly frail 80 something year old, and was sent for BOTH headaches AND shoulder pain by her physician. Her prescription from the physician was directed to be 2 to 3 times per week for 4 to 6 weeks. She may have thought she needed to come that often, but…….when I evaluated her headache AND shoulder pain, I determined that both problems were mainly caused by the same anatomical structure.

I gave her an exercise program based on this one problem, and added customized and specific exercises for the shoulders and neck. As of Friday (January 30) 100% better in the headache and 75% better in the shoulders. She came for 6 visits at 1 x per week.

So the bottom line is, unless you actually NEED to have therapy 2 or 3 times per week consider going somewhere that uses less visits more effectively and you may save yourself some time and money.

The therapists at Comstock Physical Therapy, Joyce Mills, Lori Waterman and Linnea Comstock have extensively studied the body to make our exercise programs very effective and efficient. Give us a call if you would rather go to PT once per week instead of three times a week!

Do I REALLY need to go to physical therapy 2 or 3 times a week for 4-6 weeks?

Patients never really say it, but I can tell they don’t really want to commit to 2-3 times a week of physical therapy treatment.  I’m not sure I would want to commit to that much time, given my busy schedule.  So…..I often schedule patients 1-2 times  a week unless they hurt really badly or they have an injury, surgery or goal that demands they come in 3 times a week.

If you’ve had a fresh injury like an ankle sprain, knee sprain, etc, PT right away is important to keep you as mobile and strong as you can be without making your injury worse.  This idea applies to some surgeries (see the surgeries mentioned in this post http://comstockpt.com/2014/02/01/physical-therapy-hurt/).   You may wonder, what happens if I don’t go to PT early on?

Let me tell you, it is BAD news!  When you are in a lot of pain from an injury some  muscles shorten up and spasm to protect you and other ones get shut down.  As a matter of fact recent science has shown that the big  muscle on the front of your  thigh (the quadriceps) begins to get shut down by your central nervous system 12 hours after pain begins.

When your pain level is lower, and your condition not as fresh you can cut down to 1 to 2 times a week. Chances are you will do well at 1 x per week if you are consistent in doing the exercise program the therapist has given you for homework.

Talk to your PT, she or he will work it out with you.

Ever had whiplash? Do you still hurt? Do you want to get better? You can!

Ever had whiplash? Have you been in a car accident and been rear ended or hit from the side?

whiplash pain

whiplash image

Chances are you have had treatment, maybe physical therapy, chiropractic or massage? Perhaps you have had to take pain medications? You’re probably somewhat better, but you’ve got that nagging headache, right…or…nagging tingling and numbness in your arm…or upper back pain…or all three. There is hope. New science has come out that tells us there are “core muscles” in your neck that need to be re-programmed to contract in the right order, then strengthen your neck.

Longus Colli and Capitas  "Core" muscles of the neck

Longus Colli and Capitas
“Core” muscles of the neck

Why is there a need for a “special” training program? If you have whiplash the order of the muscles contracting becomes messed up. Normally the core muscles contract the make your neck stable, then large muscles sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) pull on the neck to rotate it or pull on your neck as you lift your arm.

Sternocleidomastoid by Ken Hub

After whiplash, large muscles (the big ones you can see on the sides of your neck) contract first to splint the neck. The problem is, the right order of muscle contraction does not come back and the large muscles (sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) keep contracting, which causes headaches (see the headache referral pattern for sternocleidomastoid) and arm tingling and pain (see the scalene brachial plexus picture below).

Referral pain pattern  headaches from sternocleidomastoid

Referral pain pattern
headaches from sternocleidomastoid

"Wikipedia medical illustration thoracic outlet syndrome brachial plexus anatomy with labels" by Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D. - Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg#/media/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg

“Wikipedia medical illustration thoracic outlet syndrome brachial plexus anatomy with labels” by Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D. – Nicholas Zaorsky, M.D.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg#/media/File:Wikipedia_medical_illustration_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_brachial_plexus_anatomy_with_labels.jpg

>What can you try at home to help this pain?  Nod your head in little tiny nods, like you are nodding “yes” to getting better.

photo (1)

 

 

If that does not clear up your pain or tingling, give us a call to schedule an appointment to get relief from your whiplash pain!

Baseball player gets whiplash! What should he do?

Baseball whiplashBaseball whiplash

 

This video is an extreme example of whiplash, and it gets you thinking, what is the science about whiplash?

 

IMG_8402 ▶ Jonathan Villar Slides into Brandon Phillips Butt – hilarious Butt-slide of the year

 

Mr. Villar's large neck muscles will go into spasm to protect him.  The two muscles which will spasm the most are the sternocleidomastoid and scalenes. 

scmscalenes

When sternocleidomastoid spasms you suffer from headaches.  When scalenes spasm you suffer from arm tingling and numbness.  Mr. Villars will have both.  What should he do to relieve his pain? 

1)  get physical therapy for stretches for sternocleidomastoid and scalenes, and for myofascial release, and

2)  start working the "core" of the neck, the longus colli–(which is put out of commission by the whiplash) 
Longus_colli

If he does both of these, his neck will probably fully recover!