3 min read

What Is Whiplash?

Posted on

What Is Whiplash?

Most people only associate whiplash with car accidents, but in reality, you can get whiplash from contact sports, rollercoasters, and even whipping your hair back and forth too abruptly at a concert.

What Is Whiplash?

So how does a whiplash injury happen? Whiplash is caused by a quick and sudden hyper-extension (backward) and then hyper-flexion (forward) movement of the neck. This type of abrupt movement causes the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) in your neck to be stretched past their normal limits and therefore, causing injury to those tissues – known as a Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD).

Whiplash can be classified into a grading system:
WAD I: Neck pain with stiffness or tenderness only. No physical signs.
WAD II: Neck pain and musculoskeletal signs such as a decrease in range of motion.
WAD III: Neck pain and neurological signs. Such things could include associated sensory deficits (numbness or tingling), weakness, decreased or absent deep tendon reflexes.
WAD IV: Neck pain and fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae of the neck.

The most common grade of a whiplash injury is a WAD II.

Common Whiplash Symptoms And Signs

It can be difficult to tell which grade of WAD you may have. You might even question whether you have whiplash or something else! Dizziness, headaches, jaw pain, and vertigo are some signs that you are experiencing whiplash.

How Long Does Whiplash Last?

It is difficult to provide an exact duration of how long whiplash symptoms will last, as it varies greatly from person to person. Typically, people recover within 6 months, however, some may have prolonged symptoms and it may take years to fully recover. But don’t let stop you from carrying on with your daily activities like:

Taking the perfect selfie angle
ralph

Afternoon meet-up with a friend
ralph

The length of healing time depends on a variety of factors such as, severity of the injury, how soon you initiate treatment, compliance to treatment, any prior whiplash injuries, any presentation of neurological deficits, any associated fractures or dislocations and any pre-existing health conditions that may delay full recovery.

How Do You Treat A Whiplash Injury?

The initial treatment option for a whiplash injury is to rest and apply ice or heat to the neck and surrounding area using the 10-10-10 protocol. Not sure what the 10-10-10 protocol is? We got you!

10-10-10 Protocol
ralph
ralph

  1. Apply ice/heat to the area for 10 minutes
  2. Remove ice/heat for 10 minutes
  3. Reapply for another 10 minutes
  4. Repeat.

Manual therapy and exercises provided by a chiropractor, physiotherapist or registered massage therapist will help to restore the proper range of motion in your joints, ease muscle spasms and decrease pain. This will enable functional restoration and help you return to your normal daily activities sooner.

Delayed onset of treatment may lead to a poorer prognosis and hinder the total recovery time. In other words, the sooner you begin treatment, the better!

6 min read

Top 5 Muscle Pain Relief Stretches You Can Do Anywhere

Posted on

Top 5 Muscle Pain Relief Stretches You Can Do Anywhere

Many people think of stretching and immediately associate it with pre or post-workout, but what about adding in some muscle pain relief stretches during your work day?

We are spending a considerable amount of time (approximately 8 hours) seated at our desk during the day, or looking down on our phones or tablets. Surely, we should take some time to think about muscle pain relief. Overtime our bodies will no longer want to deal with the strain caused by static posture. The most common types of pain we experience are neck tension, stiff shoulders, hip and back pain.

We take you through five effective active stretches for your whole body, resulting in increased mobility and muscle pain relief.

ralph

ralph

ralph

Neck Stretch: Hold for 10 seconds, 3x/side

  1. Bend your head to the right.
  2. Lower and press down your left shoulder
  3. Reach forward with your left arm, just below shoulder level.

This is a great neck stretch for overall neck tension and muscle pain relief since it stretches out the upper trapezius muscle, while simultaneously promoting activity of the serratus anterior muscle. Both of these muscles work together to create healthy shoulder movement.

ralph

ralph

ralph

ralph

Thoracic Spine Rotations: Complete 5x/side

  1. Lay on your right side, with your right leg extended and your left knee bent at 90 degrees, propped up with either a foam roller or pillow, to lock out your lumbar spine.
  2. Outstretch your right arm to shoulder level with your palm facing up, and place your left arm directly on top.
  3. Slowly start lifting your left arm up, mimicking the motion of an archer, rotating segmentally up the spine to evenly distribute the motion.
  4. When the back of your left arm reaches the ground on the opposite side of your body, slowly rotate back to the starting position.

This stretch is great for thoracic spine relief. To increase extension and rotation within our thoracic spine. This will also offload the lumbar spine, decreasing back tension.

ralph

ralph
ralph
ralph

Hip Flexor Stretch (iliopsoas muscle release): Complete 5x/side

  1. Start in a kneeling position, with your left leg forward, and your right knee bent behind you.
  2. Tuck your pelvis under and squeeze your right glute.
  3. Reach your right arm up and overhead to the left.
  4. Lift your left arm up to shoulder level and rotate to the left.

This hip flexor stretch helps to offset prolonged sitting by stretching out your anterior hip flexors, especially the psoas, which can pull you into an anterior pelvic tilt.

 

ralph

Pectoralis Wall Stretch: Hold for 30 seconds/side

  1. Find a doorway or the edge of a wall, and place your left arm against it, with your elbow bent and your arm overhead.
  2. Sink forward into the stretch.

Stretching out the pectoralis muscle will correct your slouched posture and restore normal shoulder motion.

ralph

ralph
ralph

Hip External Rotator Stretch: Hold for 1 minute/side

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your left heel on your right thigh, just above the knee.
  3. Lift your right foot off the ground, and hug your right thigh into your chest.
  4. To intensify the stretch, use your left elbow to push your left knee down and roll your body slightly to the right.

This is an effective stretch to increase hip mobility and reduce sacroiliac joint pain.

These stretches focus on the major muscle groups that usually contribute to neck and low back pain and stiffness. They are super simple and easy to do virtually anywhere! Something as little as spending a few minutes stretching is all you need for muscle pain relief.  Small sacrifices daily will help the longevity of your body.

3 min read

Five Commute Exercises To Do For Neck Pain and Lower Back Pain

Posted on

Five Commute Exercises To Do For Neck Pain and Lower Back Pain

Typical activities while commuting, like staring at your phone or reading, also increases neck tension.

Your commute, plus sitting at work, is a lot of time that your lower back is inactive; therefore, causing lower back pain. “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. While we may not be able to do anything about the commutes (aside from relocating closer to our workplaces), we can optimize our time commuting to ensure your body won’t feel the after effects of logging countless hours on the bus or train.

ralph

Get on/off your stop earlier

Depending on what your job is, you may already be spending most of your day sitting at a desk. Why not change up your routine and get on or off at a farther stop. Walking a few extra blocks will help activate your glutes which can contribute to decreasing lower back pain. Walking will also allow you to spend a bit more time each day in an extension position which will counteract all the hours spent in flexion at work. It’s also an excellent opportunity to destress from the day and reflect on things you may need to get done at home.

ralph

Practice your balance while riding public transit

This one is almost forced some days when the bus, streetcars or subways are full to the brim and there are no handrails to hold. But granted you are relatively stable as is (i.e. no severe balance issues), use this time to practice your balance by standing with no handrail support. The movement of the vehicle will provide external perturbation which will challenge your proprioception. Safety tip: it’s recommended to do this near a handrail in the event a significant bump, or sharp turn unexpectedly happens.

ralph

Use the handrails for stretching

As mentioned, many of us spend a significant portion of our days in a flexed forward posture. This positioning has many adverse effects on our bodies,neck pain being a main culprit. Why not use your commutes to help you stretch out these tight structures? Use the handrails to get in a pec stretch or use two and stretch out those hip flexors. Anyone staring is just jealous they never thought of it.

ralph

If you MUST sit, actively sit
Unless your commute is more than an hour, do your best to stand for most of it. This is especially true for those of us who will be sitting the rest of the day. However, if you need to sit, make sure to sit actively. When sitting, don’t slouch, don’t sit at the front of the seat and lean back and don’t lean excessively to the side. Instead, sit back in your seat, use the backrest for lumbar spine support and engage your core. For added benefit, perform seated cat/camels to keep your spine moving.

 

ralph

Read or listen to podcasts while avoiding forward head posture

Using the dreaded commute for your personal gain can actually cause you to enjoy your time spent on public transit. However, with the crowded buses, streetcars, and subways, taking out your laptop may not be feasible. Try downloading some motivational podcasts or books that will help you to prepare for your day or week.

When reading, make sure to keep your posture in mind. Keep your elbows close to your sides and use them to prop your book up to eye level to avoid excessive neck flexion and forward head posture. When you’re finished, do a quick stretch for the front of your neck by extending, rotating and side bending until you feel a gentle stretch. Follow up with some chin tucks and you’ll be ready to start or finish your day right.

2 min read

Four Text Neck Exercises To Avoid Text Neck Syndrome

Posted on

Four Text Neck Exercises To Avoid Text Neck Syndrome

At this point in the tech generation, it’s safe to say that majority of the population has a smartphone. Unfortunately, we all are susceptible to text neck syndrome. However, small changes to the way you consume content on your phone can make all the difference between a healthy neck and text neck.

Check out these four simple exercises and neck pain stretches for your neck pain!

ralph

1. Neck problems from cell phones can be fixed by simply bringing your phone a little closer to your face. It makes the world of a difference!

Ultimately, you decide on positioning; your phone doesn’t. By putting 10 degrees of extension in your neck (bringing your head back up) can alleviate about 10lbs of sustained weight on your neck. As long as you’re more conscious about positioning, it’ll help you find opportunities to bring your phone up to your face.

ralph

2. Talk more and text less

We have lost our ability to make more genuine connections. We don’t even call to wish each other happy birthday anymore. We pretty much say all of our well wishes with one emoticon. In a day in age where hearing a voice over the phone is rare take advantage. It could set you apart in many ways and give you a competitive edge.

ralph

3. Tuck your elbows – it provides you with a checkpoint

When you tuck your elbows into your body it gives you no room to drop your arms down any more. When your arms drop down your head will just end up following.

ralph

4. Get into the habit of simple and quick neck exercises

Working on the deep neck flexors is an excellent way to create a stretch of your back neck muscles that tend to tighten up. It also builds the strength of the muscles deep in the front of the neck that tends to get weaker and inhibited because of always texting on your phone.

  1. Lie on your back
  2. Tuck your chin slightly
  3. Raise your head up just high enough to force you to contract the muscles in the front of your neck against gravity
  4. Slowly continue to raise your head into more neck flexion (chin down to to chest)
  5. Don’t let your chin jut forward
  6. Hold for 30 sec (or whatever time you can tolerate. Many of you will be super tired after 10secs)
  7. Repeat 3x daily