Whiplash pain – prevention, diagnosis and treatment

What You Must Know About Bulging Discs

Whiplash injury can be a result of sudden and unexpected force applied to the neck or back. There are thousands of cases of whiplash every year and many of which are caused by car or motorbike accidents. This post will give an overview of whiplash in general, as well as different causes, symptoms, diagnoses and treatments for whiplash injuries.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash can occur when the lower back or neck undergoes a sudden contraction of the spine. People with whiplash can have a harder time controlling their internal muscles and tend not to be able to properly support their own weight or that of another person.

In many cases, a patient will have whiplash pain caused by a muscle or ligament that has been stretched beyond its normal range of movement. The cause of this pain might be a combination of poor movement patterns, misuse of joints, and even physical trauma from riding a bike or driving.

Whiplash causes

The neck and spine are a complex network of muscles and bones that control movement and help us think and remember. Injury can damage the connective tissue that holds these tissues together. This type of injury may cause numbness, tingling and sharp pain.

There are a number of causes of whiplash injury, these might include:

  • Automotive accidents
  • Injuries caused by collisions
  • Contact sports
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Extreme sports
  • Crash landings

Automotive causes of whiplash

Whiplash in automotive settings can be the result of sudden and sharp movements, such as hitting the side of the steering wheel after a car crash. The key term is “sudden” sharp movements, such as hitting the side of the steering wheel after a car crash. When the neck and spine bend and turn violently, you might experience the condition as a whiplash injury.

For instance, it might occur when you fall off or ride a motorcycle in a hard corner. You may have whiplash injury in a car or motorcycle if:

  • Your car goes out of control while you’re driving
  • You experience a sudden turn, a bump or a jolt
  • You experience a sudden stop
  • Your car suddenly collides with another car or stationary object

Whiplash in sportspeople

Whiplash is a surprisingly common injury that many professional sports players deal with repeatedly. When this happens to the ligaments in the neck or upper back, the result can be pain that can be very debilitating and costly to the athlete. 

Whiplash is considered one of the most common sports injuries. It usually happens to the neck and upper back, but it can also happen to the shoulder and arm. One of the reasons for this is because it involves rotational forces that are causing the joint to move in a twisting or turning motion.

How can you prevent a whiplash injury?

As we age, our muscles become weaker and less flexible and so whiplash can get worse. Muscle spasms may occur due to muscle fatigue, which may increase the risk of whiplash. No matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen.

Be careful when you drive your car

Take extra care when you drive and avoid doing anything that could cause a whiplash injury. Here are some suggestions that may help reduce risks:

  • Ensure that diagonal seat belts are securely fastened
  • Backhand turns and jerky driving are more likely to lead to whiplash injury
  • Avoid driving while you’re tired or fatigued

Neck strength for contact sports

Strengthening the neck is vitally important for athletes involved in collision sports. Not only does it help with reducing whiplash injuries, but improves outcomes associated with concussions.

Symptoms of whiplash

So, what are the signs and symptoms of whiplash?

If you have whiplash, you might have pain, weakness, and stiffness in your neck and arms, especially in the lower back and neck. You might also be experiencing headaches, neck pain, and discomfort or numbness in the lower back.

Is whiplash permanent?

When you’re injured in a car accident, you may experience whiplash. This is a severe type of pain that manifests after your neck is jolted by a sudden impact with a vehicle. If you experience this pain regularly, it can be hard to tell if it’s temporary or permanent. You should consult with a healthcare provider to assess and diagnose.

How whiplash is diagnosed?

Most of the time, whiplash is a symptom of another injury, such as whiplash in car accidents. The doctor or healthcare professional may try to pinpoint the cause of the whiplash injury. If you’re suffering from whiplash, you can avoid a lot of hassle by knowing how to identify and treat whiplash injury.

Transverse rib injury and Pit Bull Syndrome

The word “whiplash” can be a misleading term, as it has been used to describe a wide range of different injuries. Another term used might be “transverse rib injury”, which can more precise because it better reflects the actual condition of the injury. Whiplash includes any rib or vertebra injury and is also known as a “vertical neck fracture” or “vertical transverse rib fracture.” The condition most commonly associated with whiplash is the infamous “Pit Bull Syndrome” (often abbreviated as PBS).

Diagnostic tools

X-rays, CT Scans and MRI may show the spine, or any vertebrae, flexing and twisting. This tool may show a disc protruding from between the vertebrae, which may be evidence of whiplash injury.

In addition, a CT scan is a helpful diagnostic tool. It can help detect herniated discs and blood clots, among other things.

Physical examination

Baseline physical examination may also be conducted to find out if there are any immediate problems. This will help in ruling out any further injury or issue that is related to the injury.

Sensory evaluation and testing are also done to diagnose the injury. The severity of the injury, pain and immobilization on the neck is assessed by the doctor. Steps of this exam may include moving your neck and back in particular positions and medical teams detecting any numbness, tingling or any other signs of disc protrusion.

Treatment for whiplash

There are several treatment options to treat whiplash injuries. The standard treatment for whiplash may include physical therapy and the use of pain medications like Voltaren and Ibuprofen. But this often leaves the underlying mechanical issues unresolved.

Other treatment options by medical teams can include spinal adjustments, sports medicine, physiotherapy, dry needling, chiropractic treatment, massage, and osteopathy. All these treatments may treat the problem, the underlying mechanical trauma, and prevent future complications.

If you feel that any of the information we’ve given you here resonates with you and you feel we are in a position to help, please BOOK ONLINE as we would welcome the opportunity. If you feel that we can help you in any other way, please reach out to us via our CONTACT PAGE.
Dr. Sami Karam, Osteopath

Dr. Sami Karam, Osteopath

I’ve been a qualified Osteopath since 2004. I’ve been playing football ever since I could remember and I have a passion for it. I’ve played at the highest level in the NSW State League at both Youth and Senior levels, and have also been Head Physician at numerous State League Clubs. I’ve travelled internationally and consulted with Sports academies in Barcelona and Italy. I have a special interest in Strength and Conditioning for footballers, as I believe it gives them an edge in their physical competition. My passion involves bringing all of this knowledge into every single treatment that I provide for all athletes. If you feel that I can help you and want to reach out to me, contact me.

More about Osteopath Dr. Sami Karam

What Is The Aim Of Sports Therapy and Massage On RSI?

What Is The Aim Of Sports Therapy and Massage On RSI?

Repetitive strain injury, or RSI, can sound scary and some people fear it will end their careers. RSI may be symptomatic in the fingers, elbows and wrists caused by repetitive use, compression, vibrations, or holding fixed positions. Many professions use their hands in their jobs, such as musicians, plumbers, construction workers, chefs, hairdressers, dentists, jewellery makers, drivers, electricians, sportspeople and many more. Though, just about anyone can develop an RSI. Continue tot read to learn what RSI is, symptoms, prevention, and treatments.

What Is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)?

Repetitive strain injury, or RSI, is caused by abnormal muscle tension or contraction of muscles that then can over time lead to injury. RSI may be commonly confused with carpal tunnel syndrome. It may cause some hand pain or hand spasm.  Physical repetitive tasks are often the main culprits for causing RSI, but it can also occur due to poor posture, heavy work positions, particular actions in sports.

Risk factors for developing RSI may include neurological problems, like nerve disorders and muscle weakness, genetic disorders, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and motor vehicle accidents.

As the name suggests, RSI is a type of injury that happens when the same action or movement is repeated frequently. It’s an overuse injury that can be quite painful and impact a range of motion (ROM). 

What and where does RSI impact?

RSI is most commonly found in wrist and forearm tendons. RSI frequently affects:

  • Wrists and hands
  • Forearms and elbows
  • Neck and shoulders
  • Other areas of your body can also be affected

The Symptoms of RSI

A repetitive strain injury usually demonstrates when you become progressively more weak or fatigued with the same movement. The nervous system controls a lot of different functions such as movements of muscles, nerves and joints.

When a muscle or joint becomes progressively weaker, it becomes difficult to perform the same movement again, this increases the risk of injury. For instance, a bowler in a bowling alley may be at risk of strain injury because they are powerfully rotating their elbow. Similarly, many athletes such as rugby players are increasingly at risk of RSI from repetitively smashing their shoulder joints against the ground or in an oppositional manner when tackling.

How To Prevent RSI

The best ways that may prevent RSI is by keeping hands, or other risk areas, mobile and strong by using them regularly in a targeted way.

Strength Training

Strength training is an excellent way to maintain flexibility in the fingers and hand muscles. Aim for 10 to 15 minutes of exercise daily. Beginning with gentle stretches to build up flexibility may be an early approach for you. A Physio or Osteo can prescribe the kinds of strength exercises that may best prevent RSI. 

Gentle Activity

Gentle movement is the best method of preventing RSI. These may be done with tools like an elastic band and putty. A Physio or Osteo can prescribe the kinds of gentle activities that may best prevent RSI. 

What Causes Repetitive Strain Injury?

Though RSI can be a common occurrence in everyday life, it can be caused by injuries or trauma to the muscles. However, many people suffer from RSI with no obvious injury or trauma. Sports and activities that involve repetitive movements and activities are risk factors for RSI. It can be caused by tendonitis, muscle tears, sprains and strains. It can also occur due to overuse or strain injuries, in which the muscle is unable to reduce contract. 

How Is RSI Diagnosed?

RSI is a collective, generic term for these kinds of injuries –  mostly referring to pain in the arm.

If you have even mild pain or discomfort completing repetitive types of tasks at home or in your workplace, you may benefit by seeing a healthcare professional like an Osteo, Physio or Chiro. They will ask you questions about your activities noting repetitive movements and computer ergonomic workstation. In addition, they may conduct a physical assessment, including a range of motion tests, check for inflammation, reflexes, and strength.

What If RSI Goes Untreated?

The official medical diagnosis of these bio-mechanical conditions or may lead to serious conditions such as:

  • Repetitive motion injuries or disorders (RMD)
  • Ulnar Nerve Compression
  • Tendinitis
  • Golfers Elbow 
  • Regional musculoskeletal disorder
  • Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs)
  • Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Medial Epicondylitis
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • De Quervain’s Syndrome 
  • Occupational or sports overuse injuries
  • Extremity weakness
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Ganglionic cysts
  • Tendinopathies (e.g Rotator Cuff, Hip)
  • Tennis elbow
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Bursitis
  • Plantar Fasciopathy
  • Osteitis Pubis
  • Achilles Tendinopathy

What Treatments Can I Use For RSI?

For sportspeople and musculoskeletal rehabilitation, physicians may prescribe an ice pack for the symptoms. Other common treatments may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, osteopathic techniques, infrared heating, physiotherapy, electrical stimulation, or splint, and massage. Corticosteroids may be used, but need to be carefully considered.

Practitioners may prescribe lightweights, foot strapping or compression, strengthening exercises, bracing or fascial release. With regards to the hands, treatments usually aim to increase blood flow to the hands. Some therapists may suggest massage, often performed with a firm hand massage machine.

Repetitive Strain Injury Treatment Options

The initial treatment for RSI symptoms is conservative. This may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Hot-cold therapy
  • Medication (including over-the-counter or prescriptions)
  • Physical exercises prescribed as part of a physical therapy treatment plan
  • Stress reduction and relaxation training
  • As a last resort, surgery to correct nerve/tendon issues

Why Use Massage Therapy for Repetitive Strain Injury Treatment?

Massage therapy is a great alternative, the conservative treatment you may want to consider before other treatment options, including the following:

It works to reduce pain and may help to heal the injury by doing the following:

  • It boosts blood and lymphatic circulation, helping the body to eliminate poisonous toxins and reduce swelling
  • Massage reduces the pain caused by tension in the muscles
  • It helps to promote healthy regeneration of tissue and tendons damaged by the RSI
  • It increases motion range by stretching tissue and relaxing tight muscles
  • Massage improves scar tissue and decreases the chances of re-tearing

Conclusion

A repetitive strain injury (RSI) is usually caused by the repetitive use of muscles, tendons or ligaments. This repetitive strain creates a small but continuous force against the tendon, which can lead to deterioration and possibly fractures. RSI in the body can affect your flexibility, strength, power, work rate, movements, fatigue and confidence. Rehabilitation with a therapist can be the best solution to relieve RSI pain and correct the underlying causes before it becomes more severe.

If you feel that any of the information we’ve given you here resonates with you and you feel we are in a position to help, please BOOK ONLINE as we would welcome the opportunity. If you feel that we can help you in any other way, please reach out to us via our CONTACT PAGE.
Dr. Sami Karam, Osteopath

Dr. Sami Karam, Osteopath

I’ve been a qualified Osteopath since 2004. I’ve been playing football ever since I could remember and I have a passion for it. I’ve played at the highest level in the NSW State League at both Youth and Senior levels, and have also been Head Physician at numerous State League Clubs. I’ve travelled internationally and consulted with Sports academies in Barcelona and Italy. I have a special interest in Strength and Conditioning for footballers, as I believe it gives them an edge in their physical competition. My passion involves bringing all of this knowledge into every single treatment that I provide for all athletes. If you feel that I can help you and want to reach out to me, contact me.

More about Osteopath Dr. Sami Karam

What You Must Know About Bulging Discs

What You Must Know About Bulging Discs

Here are the facts about bulging disks. how to get diagnosed with physio, massage, x-ray, CT scan. If you’re dealing with persistent back pain, don’t delay seeking out medical help. Learn how to prevent initial damage and the ongoing pain from bulging disks in your back.

What are bulging disks?

A bulging disc is a disc that becomes swollen because the layers that make up the discs of your spine are looser or stretched. 

Bulging disks are the common cause of low back pain. They are also referred to as herniated discs or ruptured disks. The condition is caused by the degeneration and/or rupture of a disc in the lower back and any one of several other structures, including the neck and pelvic joints. An elevated disc height is indicative of an underlying cause, but another important indication is muscle tension in the area.

It is what you see when you turn your back and your left side of the back is pointing to the left and your right side of the back is pointing to the right. The disks move inside your spinal cord and can press against one another and cause pain and numbness. 

Herniated disks

One of the causes of bulging discs is a herniated disk. A herniated disk occurs when a piece of the back’s own bone tears away from the spine, leaving a hole in the disc. The hole allows nerve roots to move around under the herniated disc, making the spine abnormally stiff. The herniated disk causes bulging discs when the disk pushes against the spinal cord, the sacroiliac (SI) joint, and spinal nerve roots, causing compression in the spine. If a herniated disk is not fixed, its nerve roots and spinal cord can become pinched by the herniated disc.

What are the symptoms of a bulging disk?

The friction between the layers makes your nerves in your spinal cord inflame and swell, resulting in back pain. 

Some people also feel neck pain, dizziness, fogginess, tingling, and a foggy, disconnected feeling in their head and upper body. The cause is most likely the inflammation and inflammation that develops because of how badly your discs have compressed and the pressure of your surrounding muscles and ligaments. 

Bulging disks in the lumbar spine

Bulging disks are tough, round lumps (cells) in the lower back that compress the spinal cord and nerve roots, compressing the nerves that extend from the spinal cord through the body and into the arms and legs. 

Preventing bulging disks

Here are some things that may help you prevent bulging discs: 

  • Sleep on your back every night. Don’t sleep on your stomach or your side. 
  • Find a good mattress and pillow that is supportive and comfortable. 
  • Don’t sit with an unsupported lumbar spine. 
  • Don’t slouch or hunch over, which puts pressure on the lower back. 
  • Stretch before getting into a car, computer chair or other similar position. 
  • Eat right. Cut back on dairy and alcohol. Avoid fats and caffeine. Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated. 
  • Exercise. A light walk can be all it takes. Try to get at least 10 minutes of light exercise daily.

Causes of Bulging Disks

It can happen when you get old and the disks are worn out, but it also happens in young people, too. When you develop bulging disks it means your muscles are weakened. This can be because of an injury or stress. 

This can be caused by a number of things such as overuse (tasks that are repeated several times per week), degenerative changes in the spine, excessive weight bearing on the back and/or hip joints, and even pregnancy.

Bulging disks are a medical condition that is not specific to any one body part. Instead, it happens when a disk in the back of your brain becomes enlarged, leading to decreased blood flow and poor brain function. It can be a sign of a number of other conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and stroke.

Bulging disks are the result of the expansion of the discs (the flexible outer part of a disc) that surrounds the nerve cells. This can cause a nerve problem called neuropathy. The cause could be due to either a physical injury, or a disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or an infection.

Diagnosis of bulging disks

You may be able to get a bulging disk diagnosis through diagnostic tools such as an x-ray or a CT scan. 

If you have a bulging disk, it is unlikely to be an isolated incident. Over time, the disk materializes in a region of the discal trust zone just outside of the central nucleus, leaving it vulnerable to damage and degeneration. This can lead to symptoms such as pain, discolouration, or even rupture. The most common cause of bulging disks is the improper use of discs or other medical devices.

Treatment and management 

The bulging disks are usually not painful and usually do not need treatment unless they are growing larger. However, they can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Highly qualified practitioners may be able to assist in establishing a treatment plan individualised for your unique bulging disk situation. These practitioners may include Massage Therapists, Osteopaths, and Chiropractors. They may use movement therapy, dry needling, massage, cupping, gentle manipulations, and physio.

A final recommendation may be undergo surgery, this should be treated as a last resort after other options are exhausted.

If you feel that any of the information we’ve given you here resonates with you and you feel we are in a position to help, please BOOK ONLINE as we would welcome the opportunity. If you feel that we can help you in any other way, please reach out to us via our CONTACT PAGE.
Dr. Sami Karam, Osteopath

Dr. Sami Karam, Osteopath

I’ve been a qualified Osteopath since 2004. I’ve been playing football ever since I could remember and I have a passion for it. I’ve played at the highest level in the NSW State League at both Youth and Senior levels, and have also been Head Physician at numerous State League Clubs. I’ve travelled internationally and consulted with Sports academies in Barcelona and Italy. I have a special interest in Strength and Conditioning for footballers, as I believe it gives them an edge in their physical competition. My passion involves bringing all of this knowledge into every single treatment that I provide for all athletes. If you feel that I can help you and want to reach out to me, contact me.

More about Osteopath Dr. Sami Karam

Diagnosing, treating and preventing Hamstring Strains

How to diagnose, treat and prevent Hamstring Strains

What are hamstring strains? A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon. People commonly call such an injury a “pulled” muscle. 

Your hamstring muscle group is in the back of your thigh and allows you to bend your knee and extend your hip. It is made up of three large muscles: biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. 

How do hamstring strains occur? 

A hamstring muscle strain usually occurs when these muscles are contracted forcefully during activities such as running or jumping. 

What are the symptoms of hamstring strains

There is often a burning feeling or a popping when the injury occurs. You have pain when walking or when bending or straightening your leg. A few days after the injury, you may have bruising on your leg just below the injury. 

How are hamstring strains diagnosed? 

One of our Practitioners will examine your leg and find tenderness at the site of the injury. And they will usually perform a series of muscle tests to figure out the extent of the injury.

How are hamstring strains treated? 

Treatment may include: 

  • Applying ice packs to your hamstrings for 45 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain goes away 
  • Elevating your leg by placing a pillow underneath it 
  • Using crutches if it is too painful to walk. 
  • Your practitioner will begin treatment to reduce unnecessary scarring of the injury and return muscle elasticity back as close to pre-injury
  • All body structures affecting the hamstring will be treated to maintain optimal function
  • Treatment will aim at stimulating blood flow to the area to increase the rate of healing
  • Strength exercises will be given to strengthening the muscle and tendon.

When can I return to my sport or activity? 

The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your sport or activity will be determined by how soon your leg recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. 

You may safely return to your sport or activity when, starting from the top of the list and progressing to the end, each of the following is true: 

  • You have bought the strength capacity of the injured muscle to a level that can sustain your sports requirements
  • You can do basic running drills, including acceleration and deceleration without pain or discomfort
  • You have returned to pre-injury fitness
  • You can train with your team or sport without restriction

How can I prevent a hamstring strain? 

  • Preparing your muscles pre-training or pre-game by gradually increasing the intensity of activity until you reach a game-ready intensity
  • Moving your hips and pelvis through a rigorous range of motion without discomfort.

What is an ankle sprain?

ankle sprain ligament injury

An ankle sprain, or ligament injury, causes a stretch or tear of one or more ligaments in the ankle joint. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect bones at the joint. 

What is an ankle ligament injury?

There are many ligaments in the ankle. The most common type of sprain involves the ligaments on the outside part of the ankle (lateral ankle sprain). Ligaments on the inside of the ankle may also be injured (medial ankle sprain) as well as ligaments that are high and in the middle of the ankle (high ankle sprains).

Ankle sprain grades

Sprains may be graded I, II, or III depending on their severity: 

  • Grade I sprain: pain with minimal damage to the ligaments 
  • Grade II sprain: more ligament damage and mild looseness of the joint 
  • Grade III sprain: complete tearing of the ligament and the joint is very loose or unstable

Sometimes sprains are just classified as mild or severe, depending on the amount of ligament damage. 

How do ankle sprains happen

A sprain is caused by twisting your ankle. Your foot usually turns in or under but may turn to the outside. This causes you to roll over your ankle and damaged ligaments.

What are the symptoms of a sprained ankle? 

Symptoms of a sprained ankle include: 

  • mild aching to sudden pain 
  • swelling 
  • discolouration 
  • inability to move the ankle properly 
  • pain in the ankle even when you are not putting any weight on it

How do are ankle sprains diagnosed? 

To diagnose a sprained ankle, a practitioner will review how the injury occurred and consider your symptoms. He will examine your ankle carefully. X-rays may be taken of your ankle but are not always necessary to make a diagnosis. 

How are ankle sprains treated? 

Treatment may include: 

  • Applying ice packs to your ankle for the first 2 to 3 days to begin to reduce swelling. Taking anti-inflammatory and tissue repair support.
  • Treatment can begin on the ankle to help improve blood flow and range of motion. You will be encouraged to begin putting weight on the ankle as soon as it’s tolerable.
  • Doing ankle exercises to improve your ankle strength and range of motion. The exercises will help you return to your normal activity or sports. 
  • Rarely, severe ankle sprains with complete tearing of the ligaments need surgery. After surgery, your ankle will be in a cast for 4 to 8 weeks. 

How long will the ankle sprain effects last? 

The length of recovery depends on many factors such as your age, health, and if you have had a previous ankle injury. Recovery time also depends on the severity of the sprain. A mild ankle sprain may recover within a few weeks, whereas a severe ankle sprain may take 6 weeks or longer to recover. Recovery also depends on which ligaments were torn. A lateral sprain (outside ligaments) takes less time to recover than a medial sprain (inside ligaments) or a high ankle sprain (high, middle ligaments). 

When can I return to my sport or activity? 

The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your sport or activity will be determined by how soon your ankle recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. Practitioners at the clinic are well trained and suited to guide you in the return to sport process.

How can I help prevent an ankle sprain? 

To help prevent an ankle sprain, follow these guidelines: 

  • Wear proper, well-fitting shoes when you exercise
  • Practice proper warm-up techniques pre-performance
  • Strength training will help in maintaining strong ligaments and also rehabilitating weak ones