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A Guide to Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash Injuries

By Dr. Holcombe on Oct 28, 2020 11:48:37 AM

Topics: whiplash

Whiplash is a serious injury with painful symptoms that affects over 1 million people in the United States each year. Thankfully, there are several forms of whiplash treatment that can help you feel better. Visiting a whiplash doctor after experiencing neck pain is the best way to overcome the excruciating side effects of whiplash. 

To learn more about chiropractic treatment for whiplash and how it can heal your painful injury, continue reading the information below.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash generally occurs when the head is quickly and harshly jolted backwards, and then forward. As a result, the soft tissues, muscles, and ligaments of the neck stretch past their usual range of motion. 

This type of movement can severely damage the bones in the spine, the discs between the bones, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues of the neck.

A whiplash injury usually happens as a result of the following :

Car accidents: Vehicle collisions are one of the primary causes of whiplash.

Contact sports: Sports-related accidents like football tackles can often lead to whiplash.

Physical harm or assault: Whiplash may also occur if you are punched or violently shaken. Whiplash is also an injury that’s typically seen in shaken baby syndrome.

Slip and fall: Depending on the severity of the accident, individuals who have a slip and fall accident also experience whiplash.

Horseback riding: Riding horses can lead to whiplash if the horse reacts aggressively, rears up, or throws the rider off.

There are other incidents that could lead to neck injury as well, but the occurrences listed above are the most common.

Whiplash Symptoms

man holding his neck after a car wreck

You may be surprised to hear whiplash symptoms extend beyond neck pain. Can whiplash lead to back pain? Where else can whiplash impact you?

The signs and symptoms of whiplash generally develop within a few days after the injury, and may include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness 
  • Dizziness
  • Increased pain with neck movement
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck
  • Pain or tenderness in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Sleepiness
  • Headaches at the base of the skull

In addition to the symptoms above, some individuals experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Ringing in the ears 
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Irritability

If you experience any of the symptoms above, it's best to visit a whiplash chiropractor as soon as possible.

How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?

When you need whiplash treatment, a chiropractor examines your whole spine. Even if you only go to a chiropractor doctor with neck complications, they’ll still evaluate your entire spine.

When you experience a whiplash injury, other parts of your spine could be damaged. That’s why a full examination is important.

A whiplash chiropractor identifies any areas of restricted joint motion, muscle spasms, ligament injury, and intervertebral disc injury. Usually, a technique known as motion and static palpation is performed. It’s a diagnostic method that involves touch. Your whiplash doctor will feel for tightness, tenderness, and your spinal joints range of motion.

Furthermore, a whiplash chiropractor will inspect how well you walk and document your spinal alignment and posture. This information helps them understand your body's mechanics and how your spine operates. By having this info, they can create an effective whiplash treatment.

In addition to the chiropractor’s examination of your spine, they may also order an MRI or x-ray to identify any progressive changes that might have occurred prior to your whiplash injury. 

The diagnostic portraits of your physical and neurological examination are studied to help them create the most effective chiropractic treatment for whiplash.

Whiplash Chiropractor: Treatment Options

suffering whiplash in an auto accident

There are several whiplash treatment options to help patients heal from their injuries. Below are a few of the chiropractic care options:


Ultrasounds can help to minimize stiffness, muscle spasms, and pain in your neck by enhancing blood circulation. This chiropractic treatment works by transporting sound waves deep into the muscle tissues. The waves create a soft heat that increases blood circulation.

Laser therapy

This technique treats whiplash symptoms by using low-frequency electrical currents to invigorate muscles and minimize inflammation.

Physical rehabilitation

Physical rehab consists of stretching and strengthening exercises. These activities help to restore and rebuild the neck area. 

Massage therapy

Any massage that provides relaxation to the muscles can help to relieve muscular—even for whiplash injuries. Furthermore, massages increase the amount of oxygen that goes to the injured tissues. It opens them up to receive oxygen and nutrients, which aids in the recovery process.

Not only that, but massages reduce acute whiplash pain and help to prevent chronic fallout.

Additionally, friction-based massages aid in breaking up scar tissue and alleviating stiffness. It works by releasing stress that's held in rigid muscle knots. Any type of massaging and bodywork that triggers circulation can also help to prevent headaches.

Manual therapies 

A whiplash chiropractor can spot tight, uncomfortable points within the muscle by placing direct pressure on certain areas by using their hands and fingers to relieve muscle tension.

Spinal manipulation

By performing spinal manipulation, a whiplash doctor can gently move the joints through slow, short thrusts. Doing so helps to create a better range of motion and promotes healing. 

Physical medicine modality procedures 

Chiropractors can alleviate tension by performing soft, gentle stretches to heal the muscles. Oftentimes, the stretches are paired with finger pressure techniques that relieve pain on pressure points.

Chiropractic Care Treatment for Whiplash

Whiplash chiropractor

Are you suffering from whiplash and need a whiplash doctor? If so, Virginia Accident Doctors can help. We provide whiplash treatment as well as aid for back pain, sciatica, headaches, and shoulder pain, and more

Get the best whiplash treatment by clicking below to schedule a Free Whiplash Injury Evaluation with Dr. Holcombe of Jefferson Spine and Injury Center.

We look forward to helping you feel better!

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Dr. Holcombe

Written by Dr. Holcombe