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Have you been experiencing an increase in neck pain after lifting or carrying light weights?
Thinking of returning to lifting after a car crash injury?
If you have, it’s essential to understand that whiplash injuries to the neck can impact more than just your cervical spine. Such injuries can affect your shoulder girdle and thoracic spine as well. This is why a thorough assessment at a physical therapy clinic is crucial to measure the function and integrity of your entire upper quadrant.
Research has shown that after a traumatic neck injury, the muscle activity of your shoulder and scapular muscles, such as the rotator cuff and serratus anterior, can change significantly. These changes also affect the thoracic spine and result in a lower pressure pain threshold (PPT).1,2 Pressure Pain Threshold is the minimum pressure required to induce pain.
In other words, you may experience heightened pain responses to lighter activities, such as carrying a grocery bag. Changes are noticed in the muscles on both sides of the injury(side of impact and opposite side), trauma to the tissues at the side of the impact can cause contralateral overuse and trigger points to the muscles that connect the neck with the spine and shoulders.
To address these deficiencies, physical therapists trained in treating traumatic injuries can develop a treatment plan to help you return to your regular activities, including lifting weights or engaging in sporting activities that require significant upper body and shoulder workouts. Consulting with your sports medicine doctor or physical therapist is crucial to screen for any associated upper quadrant involvements.
In conclusion, it’s essential to seek proper assessment and treatment for whiplash injuries that can impact your entire upper quadrant. With the right treatment plan, you can return to your regular activities safely and effectively. #crashtocure #advancephysicaltherapy


1. Christensen SW, Hirata RP, Graven-Nielsen T. Altered pain sensitivity and axioscapular muscle activity in neck pain patients compared with healthy controls. Eur J Pain. 2017;21(10):1763-1771. doi:10.1002/ejp.1088
2. Christensen SW, Hirata RP, Graven-Nielsen T. Bilateral experimental neck pain reorganize axioscapular muscle coordination and pain sensitivity. Eur J Pain. 2017;21(4):681-691. doi:10.1002/ejp.972

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