Skip to main content

Whiplash Treatment: A Philadelphia, PA Chiropractor’s Perspective

Whiplash Treatment Philadelphia PA

Car accidents are a terrible reality in our modern lives. Every 60 seconds there is an auto accident, amounting to millions of accidents every year, but not everyone gets the care they need and have the right to receive. It doesn’t take a lot of force to inflict injury. In fact, speeds of only 5-10 mph can generate significant G-forces, enough to injure the soft tissues of the next including the muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, and nerves.

Whiplash is a neck injury due to the forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. People often associate whiplash with car accidents, but it can also be caused by a fall, high-impact sports like football or hockey, and other physical traumas. Whiplash symptoms might present themselves right after the injury, but many times shock and adrenaline may mask the symptoms for a few days. Symptoms include but are not limited to, neck pain and stiffness, headaches, lower back pain, problems sleeping, muscle spasms, fatigue, nausea, vertigo, blurred vision, memory problems, and depression and anxiety.

Because of the amount of movement the neck undergoes during a whiplash-causing event, subluxations, or misalignments of the spine, are very common. A subluxation will put pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord, nerves that affect the way you feel as well as the way you function. Not only can an irritated nerve cause pain, but it will disrupt the communication between the brain and the body. When the brain and body can’t communicate properly that leads to dysfunction and disease. Chiropractors specialize in correcting subluxations and restoring proper nervous system function.

Chiropractors are the best choice for treating whiplash after a car accident or sports injury. At PA Pain & Rehab, we specialize in identifying and treating the most common issues that result from an auto accident, like soft tissue damage and spinal injuries. We want to find the root issue and treat that rather than treat symptoms only to have them return when the medication has worn off. The best part about chiropractic care for whiplash is its holistic and all-natural approach. It is always preferable to avoid the risks and side effects of surgery and medication.

Free Insurance Consultation and Auto Accident Injury Plan of Action

Schedule Your Free Consultation

How We Treat Whiplash In Philadelphia, PA

Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

Whiplash treatment starts with a comprehensive history and consultation with a doctor who’s really going to listen to your unique situation. We’ll take into account the injury itself, but we’re also interested in your health before the injury and what role that will play in your care. Our goal is that you understand your condition and what to expect if it gets corrected or is left untreated. A care plan that is customized to your unique situation is the only way to get whiplash relief. We are partners and advocates for our patients as they work to get back to 100%.

Many times, accidents cause injuries that are not visible to the naked eye, but if left untreated can snowball into larger health issues. Through a combination of chiropractic, functional, orthopedic, and neurological exams we’ll leave no stone unturned to get to the root cause of your specific issue and any other hidden issues you may not be aware of. We treat the body as a single unit working to keep you healthy and strong, we don’t want to neglect any error messages the body might be sending.

Specific Chiropractic Care in Philadelphia, PA

Based on the results of our consultation and exams, we will tailor a multidisciplinary-approach care plan specific to your injuries. Chiropractic adjustments are our most important treatment for whiplash. The impact from a crash, even at speeds of only 5-10 mph can be jarring for the spine and the body. If the spine gets knocked out of alignment it can affect the nerves that travel through the spine to service different areas of the body. This can result in pain, but pain is only a signal that something is wrong. Nerves carry every message between the brain and the body and when that communication line is broken the body begins to break down.

Chiropractic adjustments help with a range of issues as they work to improve nervous system function. By correcting the spinal structure we can remove pressure on the nerves and allow unimpeded communication between the body and the brain. Adjustments also provide rapid and long-term relief of inflammation, decrease muscle tension, restore proper range of motion, reduce the risk for serious complications, and speed up your overall recovery process. Failing to correct a subluxation, spinal misalignment, can lead to spinal degeneration, chronic pain, and limited range of motion. Chiropractors are specifically trained to correct subluxation and restore proper nervous system function.

Physical Rehabilitation

When you’re hurt in a car accident or sports injury, you want to get back to life as quickly as possible. The body heals through movement. A customized plan based on your functional assessment will strengthen your muscles, improve your range of motion, and reduce healing times. As you work with a chiropractor to restore proper spinal structure, it’s important to retrain your muscles to support that healthy structure. This helps adjustments hold longer and prevents future injury. We’ll work with you in the office as well as provide you with at-home whiplash recovery exercises to continue your healing at home.

Medical Care

At PA Pain & Rehab, we are lucky to have an orthopaedic surgeon on staff who specializes in providing care and pain management solutions for a range of spine, joint, and bone issues. He’s trained to handle emergency situations and help you find treatments to get back on your feet fast. If necessary, our doctor can prescribe an MRI to assess any soft tissue, joint, or spinal injuries and determine if your organs were impacted by a car accident or sports injury.

Medical Equipment

One of the last things that’s on your mind after an accident are the tools necessary to support recovery. We’ve got you covered. This is a frustrating and confusing time and we want your recovery, from the logistics to the healing, to be as seamless as possible. We can provide supports, EMS, medical pillows, and more to aid in your whiplash recovery and help make you as comfortable as possible while your body heals.

Free Insurance Consultation and Auto Accident Injury Plan of Action

Request An Appointment

Common Symptoms of Whiplash Philadelphia, PA


A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and body. It can occur with or without loss of consciousness and it can lead to temporary cognitive symptoms like:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sleepiness
  • Excessive fatigue

These symptoms may show up immediately after an injury, though in many cases it can take hours or days making it critical to continue checking for signs a few days after the injury. There is no specific cure for a concussion, other than resting and restricting activities to allow the brain to recover, but when there is a concussion there are almost always issues found in the cervical spine. Chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue work are two of the best treatment options for a concussion as they can work to correct damage to the cervical spine.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common complaints after a whiplash injury. In order to limit the risk of chronic neck pain or other long-term issues, it’s crucial to see a chiropractor quickly after an accident or injury. The forceful movement of whiplash can damage vertebral discs, nerves, muscles, resulting in pain from several potential sources. It’s important to have a chiropractor take stock of the situation after a car accident or sports injury to determine the root cause of the pain and the best way to move forward. Chiropractic adjustments help to realign any bones that have been knocked out of place and improve range of motion while soft tissue work helps restore muscle balance and function and corrective exercises help improve muscle stability.

Many times, neck pain is due to a condition called subluxation. Subluxation occurs when a bone or section of the spine shifts out of its normal position. This causes pressure and irritation of the nerves and affects how well your spine can move. If subluxations are not corrected, over time they can cause degeneration to the joints and lead to arthritis. Specific adjustments to the spine will remove pressure from the nerves and allow the joints to move easier. Correcting subluxations will also restore function to the nerves which will speed healing and allow the body to work at its best. If the root cause of your problem is coming from a subluxation in the cervical spine, you will continue to have symptoms until it is addressed. That is why chiropractic is so crucial to eliminating neck pain.


80% of people who experience whiplash develop a chronic headache. Headaches may be common, but they are not normal. They are one of the ways your body tells you that something is not functioning properly and must be addressed quickly. The back and fought motion of a whiplash injury can damage the cervical facet joints causing inflammation and irritation of the nerves in the brainstem and spinal cord. The pain of a whiplash headache is typically at the base of the skull and is exacerbated by moving the neck. This limits your range of motion and decreases your ability to do your work, chores, or hobbies.

Shoulder Pain

Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body. They are required for a variety of functions and it is that unique range of motion and mobility that makes them delicate and susceptible to injury. Depending on the force of the whiplash event, the shoulder may sprain or strain causing pain and irritation.

There are actually three joints that make up the shoulder – glenohumeral, AC, and SC. Joint restriction and misalignment can occur at any of these joints, and chiropractors are trained to adjust these joints to provide pain relief and restore motion and function. Corrective exercises will increase the strength of the muscles that stabilize the shoulder after any misalignments are corrected. It is common for people with shoulder pain to also experience neck or upper back pain, so we take a global approach to any shoulder issue and make sure that the areas around your shoulder are functioning well, too.

Back Pain

Back pain after a car accident or sports injury can be the result of whiplash, sprains and strains, spinal disc damage, and joint injuries. The force of the impact can cause hypermobility or tear the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the lower back. This can lead to muscle tension and spasms, and leaves the spine unstabilized.

The impact can also damage or displace one or more of your spinal discs. Your discs sit between each vertebra and act as a shock absorber with a rigid fibrous exterior and a gelatinous center. If the exterior tears and the inner, jelly-like nucleus leaks into the spinal canal it can irritate the nerves causing intense pain and disruption to the nervous system.

If your spine is affected the only thing that is going to help fix it is chiropractic, you can’t medicate away a musculoskeletal issue. If these problems aren’t fixed it can lead to degeneration which has no cure.

Chiropractic Philadelphia, PA FAQs

Can a Chiropractor in Philadelphia, PA help with whiplash?

The answer is YES! At PAPR our chiropractors and medical doctors can perform an exam to recognize the signs and symptoms of whiplash and create an individualized treatment plan for your recovery, usually involving a combination of chiropractic adjustments, muscle therapy, and targeted stretching and exercise. The goal of whiplash treatment is to control existing pain, restore normal range of motion in your neck and injured areas, and get you back to an active, normal state as quickly as possible.

How do you strengthen your neck after whiplash?

If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident and are suffering from whiplash, there are numerous exercises that are available to rehabilitate damaged soft tissue as a result of the trauma. At PA Pain and Rehab we not only teach every patient how to stretch and improve their mobility but we also teach our patients how to strengthen the muscles that are injured to lower the risk of chronic pain and stiffness.

Should I go to a doctor or chiropractor for whiplash after a car accident?

Both. It’s never a bad idea to be evaluated by a medical doctor if you’ve sustained injuries after a whiplash trauma. However, if your path to getting better doesn’t include a plan to improve your mobility and stabilize your spine and supporting soft tissue, you could potentially end up with chronic pain and stiffness. This is why chiropractic and rehabilitation is at the forefront of our care in our clinics in addition to medical care.

Can you get permanent damage from whiplash?

Untreated whiplash can lead to serious, negative health conditions and long-term pain. Torn or overextended muscles and tendons in the neck can limit range of motion and place pressure and stress on the neck, shoulders, head, and spine. In fact, according to a study published in the medical journal Neurology, 7.8% of study participants “had not returned to [their] usual level of activity or work” after one year due to whiplash injury symptoms like pain and stiffness. In addition to neck and head injuries, whiplash can affect the brainstem and spine as well.

What are the long-term effects of whiplash?

Some cases of whiplash resolve within a few weeks or months, especially if the victim receives adequate chiropractic and medical treatment soon after the injury. But in other cases, the pain and restriction of a whiplash injury can go on for years — or even a lifetime. The long-term effects of whiplash can include:

  • Chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Ongoing bouts of dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears that is constant or comes and goes
  • Upper or lower back pain
  • Severe, chronic headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Numbness, weakness, or sensory symptoms in the hands, arms, or legs
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory problems
  • Ongoing difficulty concentrating
  • Permanent personality changes

Victims are more likely to experience the long-term effects of whiplash if they:

  • Are involved in a serious auto accident
  • Do not receive adequate treatment soon after the injury
  • Suffer severe injury to the ligaments, discs, or joints in the neck
  • Suffer a spinal fracture or other serious injury near the neck
  • Re-injure the neck during the initial healing process
  • Already suffer from preexisting neck conditions
  • Experience a severe inflammatory response to the whiplash

Free Insurance Consultation and Auto Accident Injury Plan of Action

Schedule Your Free Consultation