What is Whiplash and A Great Way To Treat It?

What is Whiplash and A Great Way To Treat It?

Whiplash is an injury involving an abrupt forceful motion of the neck where the head gets whipped back and forward. This most often is caused by a car accident, however it can even happen during a fall or when playing sports.

What does whiplash feel like? For many, after the initial injury it feels like their head needs to be supported.  The reason is this sudden jarring of your neck can cause minor or major tears in your neck muscles. To put simply, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your neck become overstretched and may even tear from the sudden impact. This can cause pain and feelings of instability in the neck.

For some, whiplash symptoms go away very soon. For others it can take hours or even days after the accident to see improvement.

The most common symptoms than can arise from a whiplash injury include:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling into the arms and hands
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Tiredness

Tips and advice for tiredness courtesy of Toronto Spine & Sports Clinic (Read the caption)

Check out these great tips to help eliminate your back pain for good! courtesy of Toronto Spine & Sports Clinic (Read the caption)

How To Treat Whiplash Effectively

How soon you recover depends on the seriousness of your whiplash injury. 

Once your acute symptoms are gone your doctor may recommend you see a chiropractor or physiotherapist. 

A physiotherapist or chiropractor can help strengthen your neck muscles, which can help decrease your symptoms and even lessen the likelihood of a whiplash injury occurring again.

They may also prescribe you McKenzie exercises. These exercises help with disc (cushion that separates bones from the spine) or joint injury which can be caused by whiplash. The Mckenzie exercises are simple movements to ease pain.

A chiropractor or physiotherapist may also help by using spinal mobilization techniques. When a whiplash injury occurs, the joints that make up your neck will become stiffened. A chiropractor can help you improve the the mobility of your neck through hands-on therapy. They use different techniques to accomplish this such as:

Neck adjustment/mobilization

Your chiropractor or physiotherapist can help reduce pain and improve neck mobility with a neck adjustment.

They do this by using a swift thrusting movement in the desired direction. They can also use a handheld instrument to the tissues or joints that are affected. After getting an adjustment they will then examine your neck range of motion to check for improvements.

Your chiropractor or physiotherapist may also incorporate more gentle, but still effective joint mobilization techniques.

Myofascial Release Techniques

There are a few ways that your chiropractor or physiotherapist can positively influence the muscles and fascia surrounding your neck. They may complete gentle stretches to muscles that are tense or if you have trigger points caused by the injury they can use a gentle finger pressure technique to relieve these tight muscles. Additionally, they may complete a more broad massage to the muscles of the neck.

Chiropractic adjustment courtesy of INNOVA Integrated Wellness Centre (Read the caption)

After a chiropractic treatment it’s important to sleep in the correct position to help your neck recover.

How to Sleep after sustaining a Whiplash Injury

While recovering from a whiplash injury the position you sleep in can make your symptoms worse in the morning while others can help you wake up with less pain.

Two ideal sleep positions for whiplash are lying on your back and lying on your side. 

Lying on your back can help reduce tension in your neck and keep it in a more neutral position.

Next, if you like to sleep on your side you can sleep with a pillow between your knees. This will help take pressure off your neck and spine. When sleeping on your side it is advisable to use a thicker pillow to keep your head aligned with your spine.

Lastly,  sleeping on your stomach arches your back and may place strain on your neck. However, if you do not experience discomfort upon waking from this position, it is safe to sleep on your stomach.

It is important to consult with a rehab specialist to determine which sleeping position is best for you during your current stage of recovery. Your preferred sleeping position may differ from others. Make sure you find a sleeping position that is comfortable for you. 

To sum everything up, a chiropractor will address the root cause of your whiplash pain and develop a customized treatment plan to get you feeling better. If you’re interested in having a free consultation with a chiropractor just use the search box on this page to find a top one near you.

Simple exercises that can help you with sciatica pain relief courtesy of BeActive Physiotherapy and Wellness 


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

For many cases yes. Working with a physiotherapist or chiropractor can help shorten your recovery time.

Yes, as long as you use the correct approach. You can learn proper self-massage techniques by consulting with a rehab specialist.

Like any injury left untreated, this can cause serious long term side effects such as neck stiffness, loss of motion and chronic neck pain.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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