2nd Location

(402) 778-1100

Main Office

(402) 408-6561
Main Office (402) 408-6561
2nd Location (402) 778-1100
Main Office (402) 408-6561
2nd Location (402) 778-1100


Whiplash is a type of injury to the neck caused by forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. The most common cause of whiplash injuries is car accidents, particularly rear-end collisions. Other causes of whiplash are sports injuries or accidents, snowboarding, skiing, abuse, falls, and other types of trauma that cause the characteristic “whipping” back and forth of the head. Even water tubing can lead to whiplash with a forceful acceleration. This article details the common signs and symptoms of whiplash, potential long term consequences, and how to treat it. Our Omaha chiropractors and physical therapist see and treat whiplash daily and have years of experience helping patients recover from whiplash injuries. 

Signs & Symptoms of Whiplash 

Man with neck pain after a rear-end car accident

Whiplash symptoms do not necessarily occur immediately after the injury. Many times, those who suffer a whiplash injury will not have symptoms until hours to days after the injury occurred. Some common symptoms of whiplash include: neck pain and stiffness, worsening of pain with neck movement, decreased range of motion, headaches, pain in the upper back or shoulder, tingling and numbness in the arms, fatigue, and dizziness. Less common symptoms include blurry vision, ringing in the ears, irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, sleep disturbances, and depression. 

When untreated, and even if treated in some cases, whiplash can lead to chronic issues such as neck pain, headaches, upper back, or arm pain. The longer you wait to seek treatment after a whiplash injury, or the more severe the injury, the more likely these conditions are to become chronic. Older individuals, those with arthritis, those with pre-existing neck or back pain, and those with previous whiplash injuries may be more at risk of serious injury or chronicity of symptoms. 

Since auto accidents are the most common cause of whiplash, it is important to make sure you are properly restrained while in a car. Seatbelts and headrests at the appropriate height can help reduce the severity of whiplash injuries. Whiplash can occur at speeds as low as 5 mph, so it is imperative to ensure you are restrained properly any time you are in a vehicle. 

Treatment for Whiplash

The first step in treating whiplash is proper diagnosis. After a comprehensive exam, our chiropractors will usually take x-rays of the neck  and upper back after a whiplash injury to rule out the possibility of fracture, dislocation, or other serious pathology. Once serious pathology has been ruled out, treatment consists of chiropractic adjustments, stretching, exercises, and other therapies such as electrical stimulation or cold laser therapy. Initially, treatment will be done in office. Once you are out of the acute-care phase, our Omaha chiropractors and physical therapist will prescribe at-home exercises, stretches, and ergonomic modifications to enhance healing. Even though whiplash injuries are painful with movement, it is important to keep your body moving as much as possible! In the case of whiplash, rest = rust. Resting after a whiplash injury can actually prolong and worsen your symptoms. Our Omaha team will usually prescribe pain-free range of motion exercises for whiplash patients to help them maintain normal motion and decrease the severity of symptoms. 

If you were recently in a car accident or suffered a whiplash injury, don’t wait to treat it! Call us at 402-408-6561 or click here to schedule to start treatment with one of our Omaha chiropractors or physical therapist today!