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Whiplash Physiotherapy: Symptoms & Treatment

Whiplash and motor vehicle accident injuries can cause a range of physical impairments, such as neck pain, headaches, and limited range of motion. Physiotherapy interventions, such as manual therapy, exercise prescription, and education, have been shown to be effective in reducing pain and improving function in individuals with these types of injuries.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury that happens when your head, neck and spine go through a fast and forceful back-and-forth movement. This type of injury usually occurs during a Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA), falls and sport injuries are the usual cause of whiplash injuries. When the head moves beyond its natural range of motion from the sudden force, it can cause tearing and/or compression of the soft tissues or joints in the neck or back and can also cause trauma to the brain inside the skull, resulting in concussion.

What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

The symptoms of whiplash can take several days before being evident. The reason for this is that the damage occurs to the tissues immediately, but the inflammation and spasm can set in over a period of days following the trauma and it is these factors that cause the pain.

The most common symptoms include pain, stiffness, tenderness to the touch of the neck, back or shoulders as well as headaches and dizziness. Less common symptoms include jaw pain, numbness and tingling in the arms of hands, anxiety, depression and even trouble speaking or swallowing.  Many other injuries can occur simultaneously at the time of impact.

How Can Physiotherapy Help With Whiplash?

Early intervention leads to more successful outcomes. It is important for you to be assessed and treated as quickly as possible following the accident.

Recommended Treatments

Manual Therapy

Manual Therapy performed by a Sports Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist to release the tight muscles and mobilize stiff joints. They will address the scar tissue, by breaking it up with hands-on techniques and then using exercise to realign it along the lines of stress of the muscles.


Acupuncture is often effective to reduce pain and promote healing of the muscle.

Dry Needling

Dry needling is another option to release trigger points in the muscle.

Massage Therapy

Registered Massage Therapy will also be a highly effective tool in dealing with the damage created during whiplash. The earlier an injury is treated, the faster it will heal.

How Long Does it Take For Whiplash to Heal?

Depending on the severity of the damage, a typical healing time frame of 6-8 weeks minimum.  

What are the best exercises/ stretches to help with Whiplash?

Your physiotherapist will give you an exercise prescription with education on daily self treatment. Registered Massage Therapy will also be a highly effective tool in




Contact Us for Help

Inertia Physio+ offers Kanata and Stittsville exceptional Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy with private treatment rooms, one on one care, a maximum of two patients per hour and treatment focused on the evidence based practices of manual and exercise therapy.   Don’t suffer any longer.  If you have pain or injury, our Kanata and Stittsville Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy team is here to help you get back to life pain free life and activities.  Please reach out to us at (613) 672-2200 or for an appointment today!  You are also welcome to book online. We also offer direct billing on Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy services whenever your plan allows.


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