What is Whiplash and How Can a Chiropractor Help?


Whiplash is a injury that occurs to the soft tissues of the neck. The symptoms are brought on due to damage of the neck that typically occurs because of an unexpected or rapid flexion or extension. The symptoms of whiplash may not set in until several hours after the accident, or up to 48 hours after the accident. Other situations in which neck strain may occur include work injuries, falls, and sports injuries. Individuals with this type of injury usually report pain and stiffness in their neck as well as their arms, shoulders, upper chest, and upper back. Many individuals also report headaches that radiate from the base of their skull. Other symptoms that individuals report include difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, nausea, and dizziness. A large amount of individuals with this injury report these symptoms up to five years after their accidents. Certain pre-existing conditions may increase the severity of neck strain injury, including arthritis.

When diagnosing this injury, your chiropractor will ask you about your accident and the symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor may also ask you questions regarding your ability to perform everyday tasks. Your doctor will then conduct an exam, looking at your head, neck, and arms. You may be asked to perform simple tasks in order for your doctor to observe and evaluate your abilities in a number of areas. These areas include:

  • Strength of your limbs
  • Reflexes
  • The level of tenderness in your back, shoulders, neck
  • Range of motion you have in your shoulders and neck
  • The amount of motion that causes you pain or an increase in the amount of pain you feel


After your physical examination, your doctor will typically order an imaging assessment to rule out other conditions that may be present. Imaging texts can include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computerized tomography (CT).

The treatment you receive will depend on several factors including the severity of your injury. The ultimate goals for treatment include controlling pain, resuming participation in normal everyday activities, and restoring your neck’s range of motion. Some individuals require medication and in-home treatment, while others may need physical therapy. Keep in mind that all treatments will be dependent on your specific injury needs.

If you need treatment for your injury, call us at (303) 758-9000 today!