Treating Whiplash With a Chiropractor: What to Expect

Posted on March 29, 2023

Whiplash is a common injury resulting from rapid backward and forward head and neck motion. Common after car accidents, the injury affects the soft cervical spine tissues. It can lead to acute neck pain and restricted neck movement. Chiropractors understand how the spine and body work. This helps put in place the best treatment plan.

Diagnosing Whiplash Injury

The chiropractor evaluates the patient’s spine to determine the extent of the injury. Whiplash injuries can affect other areas of the spine. The evaluation will help identify intervertebral disc injury, restricted joint motion, and muscle and ligament injuries.

These professionals often use the motion and static palpation technique during the diagnosis. They also feel for tightness or tenderness and examine spinal joint movements. The diagnosis also involves analyzing the following:

  • The patient’s posture.

  • Movement.

  • Spinal alignment.

Whiplash Chiropractic Treatment

Besides conducting an evaluation, the professional may order an X-ray or MRI to check for degenerative changes. Diagnostic images alongside the physical evaluation help create the best treatment plan.

Soon after the injury, the chiropractor will work to reduce inflammation. They will use ultrasound, manual therapy techniques, and stretching. Applying an ice pack on the neck can provide relief. After reducing pain and inflammation, the professional will perform gentle manipulations. They will also apply other techniques to restore neck joint motion.

Whiplash Treatment Techniques

The professional will develop a treatment plan based on the severity of injuries and other factors. Some common techniques include:

  • Spinal manipulations.

  • Manual therapy for soft tissues.

  • Flexion-distraction technique.

  • Instrument-assisted manipulation.

  • Manual joint stretching and resistance.

  • Trigger point therapy.

  • Therapeutic massage.

The doctor may use other therapies to reduce the inflammation and symptoms of whiplash. The treatments include electrical stimulation and ultrasound.


Spinal manipulation is the primary type of treatment employed to help with whiplash. The technique involves the gentle movement of the targeted joint in the direction of the restriction. It is also called a chiropractic adjustment.

This technique usually involves applying short thrusts in the desired direction. The professional may also use slow mobilizing motions. The care helps relieve pain and discomfort. It works without using medications or other invasive techniques.

Chiropractic Care for Long-term Results

Every individual is different, and each case of whiplash differs from the next. When developing an individualized treatment plan, chiropractors focus on long-term results. They do not focus on the neck but provide holistic care. The care can help reduce the risk of long-term complications.

The professional may also recommend therapeutic exercises. These exercises help restore normal spinal motion and reduce whiplash symptoms. They emphasize the importance of injury prevention for long-term health and wellness.

Chiropractors develop a specific whiplash treatment plan for every individual. The plan may include one or several techniques. These doctors work alongside other health professionals for the best results. Regular visits to these professionals can strengthen the body and prevent future injuries.

For more on whiplash treatment, visit Accident and Injury Chiropractic. Our office is in Tacoma, Washington. Call (253) 215-8350 to schedule an appointment today.

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