Treatments for Whiplash


Whiplash occurs when a person’s head moves backward and then forward suddenly with force. This injury is most common following a vehicle accident, however, it can also result from physical abuse, sports injuries, accidental falls or even amusement park rides.

Whiplash results when the muscles and ligaments in your neck extend beyond their typical range of motion. Your symptoms might not appear for a while, so it’s important to pay attention to any physical changes for days following an accident.

Whiplash is thought of as a relatively mild condition, but it can cause long-term pain and discomfort.

Common symptoms that can be related to whiplash:

  • Neck pain and stiffness.
  • Difficulty flexing, extending or rotating the head.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Shoulder and arm pain, stiffness or weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Jaw pain or difficulty chewing.
  • Arm pain.
  • Visual disturbances.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Back pain.

Home Care For Whiplash

  1. Ice and/or heat. For the first couple of days following a whiplash injury, applying ice can reduce pain and inflammation in the neck. Then ice or heat can be applied alternately a few days after the injury has occurred.
  2. Rest. While it is good to stay active if possible it also is wise to take things easier the first few days. If a certain motion or activity intensifies the neck pain, then avoid or limit that movement until the neck has more time to heal. Limit strenuous activities such as sports or heavy lifting.
  3. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Some common OTC pain relievers include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil, Aleve, and Motrin. Acetaminophen can block pain receptors, and NSAIDs reduce inflammation. Use as directed.

Other Treatments For Whiplash

  • Physical therapy. Treatment from a trained physical therapist or qualified health professional can help improve the neck’s strength and flexibility, which in some cases can relieve stress on the spine and reduce pain.
  • Massage Therapy. Massage may relieve some of the tension in the neck muscles as well as increase circulation to promote healing.
  • Acupuncture. Many people report benefits from acupuncture, this involves placing thin needles in various strategic parts of the body depending on the condition being treated. When done by a licensed acupuncturist, the treatment is safe and has little to no pain.
  • Electronic nerve stimulation. This involves a gentle electric current that may help reduce neck pain.
  • Chiropractic Care. A chiropractor or other certified medical professional will typically use his or her hands to make manual adjustments to the spine in an effort to increase the range of motion and reduce pain and return the injured area to proper alignment.

The Whiplash Takeaway

It is caused by an abnormal motion or force applied to the neck that causes movement beyond the neck’s normal range of motion. It is usually caused by a flexion-extension motion of the neck that pulls and strains the neck muscles and ligaments.

Whiplash will often get better on its own or after some simple treatment in a few weeks or months, however, it is possible that it can cause severe and troublesome symptoms that last a long time.

At Family Chiropractic Plus in St. Petersburg, we are committed to nothing less than the best for our valued patients! Contact us to view our services and see how we can assist you in your health and wellness journey.


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