Where We Excel: Whiplash Injuries

Every chiropractic likes to say they’re the best. But we can actually explain why you get to expect more when you get a whiplash injury treated by our team. Our secret ingredient? The seamless integration of advanced massage techniques with precise, gentle adjustments and traction.

At our clinic, we understand the complexity of whiplash injuries, and that’s why we go beyond traditional methods. By also incorporating frequency-specific microcurrent technology, we amplify the healing process for the injured structures, ensuring a faster and more comprehensive recovery. We love what we do, and we’re excited to help!

Understanding the complexities of whiplash injuries is a must when treating them. For the sake of internet blog rules (this isn’t supposed to be a novel, right?), we’ve dedicated a separate blog to understanding exactly what happens in a whiplash injury. More importantly, we go into detail on how these injuries can affect us in the long run. Understanding the long-term implications is critical to being able to properly advocate for yourself in your recovery care, whether the injury was recent or happened years ago. That’s right! Even if your whiplash injury happened years ago, we may still be able to help improve your long-term outcomes. If you haven’t had a chance to brush up on all the intricacies, take a moment to read about them, HERE

Now that you understand why you need to heal as much as possible from a whiplash injury, let’s take a look at all the treatments out there and why we excel at providing a comprehensive treatment. 


Rest and Activity Modification: In the initial stages of whiplash, rest is crucial to allow the injured tissues to heal. Avoiding activities that strain the neck and maintaining good posture can prevent further stress on the affected area. However, it’s essential to strike a balance, as prolonged immobilization can lead to stiffness.

Ice and Heat Therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected area during the first 48 hours can help reduce swelling and numb pain. After the initial phase, heat therapy, such as warm compresses or heating pads, can promote blood flow and ease muscle tension. Cycling between the two can be phenomenal to encourage blood flow and reduce the likelihood of irritation. 

A good rule of thumb is that heat is ok if (1) the area you are applying it to is no longer radiating heat from inflammation, and (2) if it makes you feel better. Bodies can respond differently to ice and heat therapies. Just because something is generally helpful, doesn’t mean it helps you. Listen to your body. 

Pain Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, can help manage pain and reduce excessive inflammation. Since the brain likes to tell muscles to brace around areas of pain (known as the “pain-spasm” cycle), reducing pain while healing can be extremely helpful. It’s crucial to use these medications as directed and consult a healthcare professional, especially if pain persists.

Supplements: Magnesium is a nutrient that muscles need to have to relax. In recovery after a whiplash injury, muscles are being asked to do a LOT. So, they need more of this nutrient than normal. Taking a magnesium supplement (or increasing your normal dosage) often helps relieve excessive muscle strain. Magnesium helps the body in a lot of ways, and we typically find that powdered magnesium works best for this use. Careful to not take too much, or you may find yourself staying close to the bathroom for a day!

Topicals: If you don’t love the idea of pain meds or just need some extra support, topical agents can help improve comfort. Menthol-based products help decrease pain and disrupt the pain-spasm cycle mentioned above. Most over-the-counter menthol products will have 2-4% menthol. Biofreeze Pro and Cryderm have 10-10.5% menthol for a stronger effect. 

Topical magnesium products can help you give a little extra to muscles in a specific area if you have already reached your max tolerance as a supplement. We use Phuel in our office, but the same company provides a different brand in most drugstores called Theraworx.

Prescription Medications: In some cases, healthcare providers may prescribe stronger pain medications or muscle relaxants to address severe pain and muscle spasms. These medications should be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

Neck Collar (if advised): While prolonged use of neck collars is generally discouraged, in certain cases, a healthcare professional may recommend a collar for a short duration to provide extra support during the initial stages of healing.

Cervical Traction: Cervical traction involves gently stretching the neck to relieve pressure on the spinal discs and nerves. This may be done with the help of a healthcare professional or through specialized devices. Decompressing the disc spaces can allow disc injuries to better heal over time. It is possible, in some cases, for bulging or herniated discs to even reabsorb when given the conditions to do so.

Physical Therapy & Strength Training: Physical therapy plays a significant role in the long-term rehabilitation process. Ligaments don’t like to heal to their original strength, so your neck will rely more on muscular stability in the long run. Therapists can guide individuals through exercises and stretches that improve neck mobility, strengthen muscles, and promote overall recovery. We recommend continuing with strengthening exercises as part of an ongoing practice once you are released from PT.

Massage Therapy: Massage can help alleviate muscle tension and improve blood circulation. A skilled massage therapist can target specific areas of discomfort, providing relief. Key word: skilled. You knew we’d have thoughts on this one, right? That’s because massage can be helpful or harmful. The more obvious is that aggressive work can further irritate injured tissues and inflamed nerves. Much more nuanced is the art of taking into account all the factors (time since injury, inflammation, body response, etc) and understanding what amount of muscle relaxation is helpful to the body. Remember that the brain is telling the muscles to help stabilize the neck when the ligaments are injured? Well, too much release can cause the brain to go on high alert and send signals for the muscles to lock down even tighter than before! Not good. Massage can absolutely help a LOT… but having an LMT with a deeper understanding of whiplash and body responses is vital to reduce the risk of any harm. 

Joint Manipulations: Joint manipulations are most commonly performed by Chiropractors (DCs), but may also be performed by some Osteopaths (DOs) and Physical Therapists (PTs). Joint manipulations my be performed as manual adjustments or with the use of handheld or computerized instruments. These adjustments can help correct misalignments and relieve pressure on nerves. In response to better alignment, soft-tissue structures can also be influenced to release or relax, and nerve compression may be reduced. 

Here again, who you work with absolutely matters. In our experience, the best results are seen with gentle adjustments that work with the body and not against it. Additionally, practitioners who take into account the level of inflammation in the surrounding area and the amount of potential instability present will tend to achieve the best outcomes… and patient comfort!

Modalities: Modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation may be used to promote healing, reduce inflammation, and manage pain by increasing circulation in the areas being treated. Frequency specific microcurrent helps stimulate targeted body healing responses to reduce pain, most notably by increasing ATP production by as much as 500%, giving cells more energy to function. 

Gradual Return to Activities: As symptoms improve, a gradual return to normal activities and exercises is recommended. While increased activity and movement through a more normal range-of-motion can help accelerate recovery, it is important not to rush this process and to pay attention to how the body responds. 

Education and Lifestyle Modification: Understanding proper ergonomics, posture, and techniques to avoid straining the neck can contribute to long-term prevention of recurring issues.


Advanced Massage Techniques
At Life Moves MT, our LMTs received advanced training that allows them to safely and competently address the soft-tissue changes from whiplash injuries more comprehensively.

  • They attend seminars for specialized training to address spasms deep in the front of the neck. 
  • Advanced facial patterns training allows our LMTs to discover compensations and adaptations that could lead to long-term pain and breathing issues.
  • All of our LMTs receive training in orthopedic assessment and assessment for altered breathing patterns.

Gentle and Experienced Chiropractors
Our DCs appropriately address spinal misalignments due to whiplash injury at any stage of treatment. 

  • For more recent injuries, they are more likely to utilize handheld adjusting tools to deliver the most gentle changes for injuries that are still inflamed and unstable. 
  • They prioritize patient education and long-term outcomes over performing adjustment and will delay cervical adjustment if stability work or x-ray is indicated. 
  • When adjusting, their adjustments are specific to individual segments in order to avoid overadjustment and further instability (more pops is not necessarily better!). 
  • At any stage, they incorporate manual and tool-assisted adjustments as needed to maintain patient comfort (physical comfort or patient adjustment preferences).

Supportive Modalities
We utilize traction, ultrasound, and frequency specific microcurrent to help achieve a speedier and more comprehensive recovery.

  • We find that incorporating traction in the same session with layered chiropractic and advanced massage techniques offer patients the best and fastest outcomes.
  • We avoid aggravating recent injuries further by using ultrasound to increase circulation when even gentle massage would be too intense for the area.
  • Frequency Specific Microcurrent is a gamechanger for addressing pain due to inflammation and disc injury. For faster recovery and maintaining relief between sessions, we are able to rent units between sessions. 

Our Integrative Approach
Layering massage into chiropractic adjustment sessions has unparalleled results, especially when addressing whiplash injuries! There is no other process more effective or efficient.

  • Using e-stim as a massage replacement cannot come close, and massage just before or after an adjustment session just doesn’t achieve quite the same level of change. 
  • Tissues are extremely sensitive in newer whiplash injuries and can behave unpredictably. Layering massage allows our chiropractors to be even gentler in their approach and for us to address any spasming that could occur immediately.
  • Working against the body to create too much change too quickly often creates harm while attempting to do good. This approach slows down progress. By maintaining a gentler session, we find that injured bodies allow us to create more change in one session without a negative response following the session. More change plus more comfort leads to faster progress!


Whiplash injuries are extremely common, and it is our goal to provide the most comprehensive recovery care possible. For recent injuries, we aim to help you heal more completely in order to offer you the best long term outcomes available given your specific injury. For patients who suffered a whiplash injury long before meeting us, we will take a comprehensive look at how your body has compensated since your recovery and what long-term issues you are most at risk for to treat any altered postural or breathing issues and provide a maintenance care plan that best supports the delayed onset of and/or pain management for the degenerative issues associated with whiplash injuries. No matter when you had your whiplash injury, we’re here to help.