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Whiplash: More Than a Pain in the Neck - How a Whiplash Chiropractor Can Help

Whiplash - More Than a Pain in the Neck How a Whiplash Chiropractor Can Help

Each year, people suffer neck pain. We know the disruption that neck injuries often cause as whiplash chiropractors, from sleep problems to difficulties getting through the day. Although often associated with high-impact situations, people of all ages, activity levels, and walks of life may suffer such injuries and need chiropractic treatment.

Whiplash refers to the neck damage, including the nerve roots, cervical neck muscles, ligaments, discs, and intervertebral joints. We and other medical professionals who know how to treat whiplash also commonly refer to this condition as a neck sprain or strain. 

The term neck sprain describes tearing of the ligaments in the neck. Neck strain injuries, on the other hand, involve damage to the tendons or muscles of the neck.

Common Causes of Whiplash

Common Causes of Whiplash

Whiplash results from abrupt backward-and-forward jerking of the head, often during a car accident. Due to the sudden force, the muscles, tendons, or other cervical structures may stretch beyond their typical ranges of motion, causing soft tissue injuries, tears, or other damage.

The term whiplash often describes such injuries, as well as the manner in which people suffer this type of neck sprain or strain. A number of events may create the force necessary to cause whiplash injuries. The most common of these include motor vehicle accidents, contact sports, and physical assault or abuse. 

For instance, a rear-end collision, football tackle, or shake or shove will sometimes cause a person’s head to rapidly snap back and forth with the force necessary to cause structural damage. Falls and blows to the head also sometimes result in whiplash injuries. 

The Symptoms of Whiplash

People who suffer neck sprains and strains from whiplash events experience various symptoms. Some of the most common signs of such neck trauma include:

  • Neck stiffness 
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Reduced cervical range of motion 
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms 
  • Pain or tenderness in the upper back, shoulder, or arms 

Some also suffer unusual fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, sleep problems, concentration and memory difficulties, irritability, and depression. The types of symptoms someone may experience due to whiplash depend on the severity of their injuries, their age, and their overall health before their injuries. 

The symptoms of whiplash do not always have an immediate onset. Instead, we recommend people pay attention to how they feel and any physical changes they notice in the days following the events that caused their injuries.

How We Diagnose Whiplash

How We Diagnose Whiplash

Care providers use various techniques to diagnose whiplash injuries. We typically begin by asking about the event and reviewing the patient’s symptoms. This helps us identify if the type of snapping force required to cause whiplash occurred. In addition to talking to patients, we also perform physical examinations.

To this end, we may check the range of motion in their neck and shoulders, as well as the tenderness in their necks, shoulders and backs. Our exams also often include checking the degree of motion that results in or increases pain and assessing the patient’s limb strength, sensation and reflexes. 

To help rule out other diagnoses or factors possibly worsening the pain, we also sometimes use imaging. X-rays taken from many angles can show arthritis, dislocations, and fractures. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) also sometimes aid in diagnosing whiplash injuries to soft tissues or the nervous system.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Whiplash?

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Whiplash

Treatment of whiplash injuries typically focuses on three primary goals: manage pain, restore normal range of motion, and allow for a return to usual activities. To this end, other health care providers treat such injuries and we often recommend rest, heat and cold applications, and in some cases, medications. 

We work closely with patients to develop customized treatment plans that address their specific symptoms, needs, and goals. These plans may include using modalities such as manual therapy, therapeutic massage or ultrasound to help reduce muscle stiffness and spasms and increase the blood circulation in the injured area. 

We also use spinal manipulation techniques, muscle relaxation and stimulations, specific trigger point therapy, soft tissue therapy. Spinal manipulation involves one of our professionals gently moving the affected joint to help ease some of the restricted movement. 

Specific spinal manipulation procedures, like the flexion-distraction technique, may be used in some cases. While some such adjustments use short thrusts of movement in the direction the joint has restriction, we typically employ slow, mobilizing movements to treat whiplash. 

Our work with patients also includes ergonomic education, helping them to understand the most efficient ways to perform their everyday tasks and minimize the strain on their bodies. 

Possible Whiplash Complications

Typically, people we see for whiplash treatment do not experience serious complications. The neck structures heal with time, and within a few weeks, those who suffer whiplash often feel better. However, in other cases, people experience chronic pain due to their injuries. 

Everyone recovers differently and on their own time from neck sprains and strains. According to, some risk factors exist for experiencing long-term whiplash effects. These include high-speed injury-causing events, older age, existing neck or back pain, or a history of neck sprains or strains.

Life After a Whiplash Injury

Life After a Whiplash Injury

With time and care, most cases of whiplash resolve. Depending on their professions and job duties, those who suffer such injuries may not need extended time off work to recover. 

For instance, a store cashier whose symptoms show steady resolution often needs limited time before going back to work. However, a law enforcement officer, who may perform more physical tasks during the course of his or her shift, may need to remain off work until his or her symptoms become more manageable. 

After suffering neck injuries, some think it best to wait out the symptoms simply. However, knowing how to treat whiplash may help people recover from the effects of their injuries and move forward. 

If you’ve suffered a neck sprain or strain and need whiplash treatment, a New York whiplash chiropractor can help you return to the pain-free life you once lived. We work alongside you to develop customized chiropractic care treatment plans that address your symptoms and concerns. Our doctors accept no-fault, workers’ compensation and other health insurance plans. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at


Chiropractic Approach, P.C. 

95-08 Queens Blvd. 

Rego Park, NY 11374

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