What is “Whiplash”?

Whiplash is a non-medical term used by people to describe a variety of injuries to the neck that are caused by or related to a sudden force to the neck and/or head, such as commonly occurs in a rear-end car crash. So, “whiplash” isn’t an injury… it is more like a mechanism by which the spine and associated structures are injured.

Various tissues can be damaged in a “whiplash” injury. Car collisions can cause injuries that include damage to muscles and tendons (strain), ligaments (sprain), disc, nerves, spinal cord and even the brain (concussion). These injuries may cause a variety of symptoms. These would include:

  • headaches,
  • neck pain,
  • upper back pain,
  • pain radiating into the shoulders and arms,
  • numbness and/or tingling in the hands or fingers,
  • weakness in the hands (grip strength),
  • blurry/double vision,
  • dizziness,
  • confusion,
  • insomnia,
  • fatigue,
  • muscle spasms,
  • jaw (TMJ)pain


Each of these injuries may require different treatment. At Modern Chiropractic Center we first try to find the injured tissues, and then we take the appropriate steps to make sure each and every injury is managed appropriately. While we provide chiropractic care that will help with many of the symptoms, we may need to co-manage with a medical doctor or a specialist in concussion management, for example, to make sure your symptoms are properly handled.

If you have been diagnosed with “whiplash”, that doctor that did the diagnosing is either missing the identification of the damaged tissues or is oversimplifying your injuries. Proper identification of the damaged tissues is the first step to getting better. Don’t let a doctor say you have whiplash and take some pain killers or muscle relaxers, unless you know the exact tissues injured. 50% of people injured in a car crash never fully recover, and 25 of those people have permanent impairment and disability for the rest of their lives. Don’t become a statistic

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