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Apr 24, 2012

Whiplash & Massage

by Kirk Bradley, LMP

You probably have heard the term "Whiplash" used to describe a type of injury to the neck caused by an automobile collision. And if you have ever had a whiplash injury, you know how painful it can be and how it can adversely affect your quality of life.

Category: General
Posted by: harmony

In an auto collision, your head is suddenly and violently moved backward & forward (similar to the motion made with the wrist when someone cracks a whip.) This sudden & violent movement damages the soft tissues (muscles, tendons & ligaments) in the neck by over-stretching or tearing them.


Common symptoms of whiplash may include:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Back pain (between shoulder blades and/or low-back)
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or remembering
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Blurred vision


Effective treatment of whiplash initially consists of reducing the pain and swelling of acute inflammation. Ice or cold packs, applied to the neck for 15-20 minutes several times per day is a must! Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications may also be prescribed by your doctor.


After at least 48 hours have passed from the time of the injury, light & gentle massage techniques should be performed to help decrease pain & inflammation and increase circulation in the traumatized tissues, thus speeding-up the healing process.


As healing progresses, slightly more aggressive massage techniques are vital for breaking-up and realigning scar tissue in the neck muscles in order to prevent adhesions (adjoining tissues which have become "stuck together" by scar tissue, causing tightness and decreased flexibility.) Without therapeutic massage treatment, the pain, tightness and loss of flexibility will likely become chronic and may go on for years or decades.


If you have been in an auto accident and have any of the symptoms of a whiplash injury it is vital that you get massage therapy as a part of your full treatment plan in order to restore your muscles' full health and function. If you have personal injury protection as part of your auto insurance policy, we can usually bill your insurance, with no out-of-pocket expense to you.

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