woman rubbing her neck in pain it could be whiplash

What is Whiplash and How Does Chiropractic Help?

Whiplash isn’t just caused by car crashes

Whiplash comes from any motion causing your head to forcefully and quickly move backward and then forward. This motion often injures bones, discs, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of the neck and spine.


Non-car crash causes of whiplash we've seen in our office


Paddling posture puts a lot of pressure on your neck muscles, and also compresses your nerves. While neck pain is usually related to paddling, it can also appear after a wipeout causes whiplash.


Mountain Biking

Traumas from crashing at speed, or even falling over when you're trying to clip in to your peddles, can cause whiplash.


Road Cycling

One of our employees suffered whiplash after swerving to miss an obstacle while riding downhill at speed. She slid out, bounced on the pavement a few times, and thought she was fine — until she couldn't turn her neck without pain the next day.


Teaching During COVID

We recently had a patient teaching a cohort of students online and in class. She gave herself whiplash while looking from the screen to her classroom and back over and over. 


Symptoms of whiplash typically start within 24 hours of the injury

Some signs you may have whiplash are —

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Worsening neck pain or loss of range of neck movement
  • Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue/Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

Whiplash can be further complicated when —

  • You’ve had whiplash before
  • You are of an older age
  • You have existing low back or neck pain


How long does it take to recover from whiplash?

Patients with injuries like whiplash typically see us a few times a week for a few weeks until they feel 70% better.


The good news is that chiropractic can help with whiplash

We’ll choose the treatment that best addresses any spinal movement or nerve-related causes of your whiplash.


When you come to see us for whiplash, your treatment plan could include —


Instrument-assisted manipulation 
This technique is gentle. We use an instrument called the activator. We apply force without thrusting into the spine. This is helpful for older patients who have a degenerative joint syndrome. It is also for anyone with a preference for a gentle, non-thrust approach.


Specific spinal manipulation 
We find the restricted spinal joints that may show abnormal motion (called subluxations). This technique helps restore motion to the joint with a gentle thrusting technique. Stretching soft tissue and stimulating the nervous system helps restore normal motion.


Therapeutic exercises
To help restore normal motion in your spine and reduce whiplash symptoms, we may prescribe exercises specific to your unique condition.


Soft tissue treatment
We also use manual therapy to treat injured soft tissues (e.g. ligaments and muscles) —

  • We may use myofascial blading. This instrument-assisted technique treats injured soft tissues. We will perform gentle repeated strokes using the Graston or RockBlade instruments over the injured area.
  • Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Trigger point therapy


Do you think you may have whiplash?

Make an appointment with your preferred healthcare provider to get diagnosed. If you’d like to see one of our Golden Chiropractic doctors, make an appointment online.