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Neck Pain Series - Part 3 : Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD)

Whiplash is another common cause of NECK PAIN and DYSFUNCTION. It can be defined as an acceleration-deceleration mechanism of energy transfer to the neck that results in bony or soft tissue injuries. It may also lead to a variety of clinical manifestations known as Whiplash-Associated Disorders (WAD).

‘The Quebec Task Force Classification of Grades of WAD’ is commonly used to grade the severity of WAD injuries. It is as follows:

Grade 1 = Complaint of neck pain, stiffness or tenderness only. No physical sign(s). Grade 2 = Neck complaint AND musculoskeletal sign(s). Grade 3 = Neck complaint AND neurological sign(s). Grade 4 = Neck complaint AND fracture OR dislocation. Evidence based treatment for WAD: 1) PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE: - reassure the individual to STAY ACTIVE - return to usual activities - EXERCISE: range of motion exercises, low load isometric exercises, postural endurance and strengthening exercises 2) MAY BE EFFECTIVE IN SOME CASES: - manual therapy - thoracic manipulation (cervical manipulation is NOT recommended) - dry needling / acupuncture - kinesio taping - surgery 3) PROVEN TO BE INEFFECTIVE: - reduction of usual activities - immobilisation (collars) So, what to do if you have suffered a whiplash injury: get in to SEE A QUALIFIED PHYSIOTHERAPIST ASAP!! So reach out to one of our caring and friendly Chatswood or North Sydney Infinite Health Team physiotherapist to start getting help! The sooner you get started, the sooner you will be back to normal, pain-free life.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Reference: Motor Accidents Authority: Guidelines for the management of acute whiplash-associated disorders – for health professionals. Sydney: third edition 2014.

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