Skip to main content


A Pain In The Neck- Causes, Symptoms and Recovery

Whiplash is a unique category of neck pain that is often the result of trauma such as a car accident. It is typically related to the rapid forward and backward movement of the neck. With this type of neck pain, there are multiple other variables that can be involved that can contribute to its severity, recovery time, and its overall impact on your life.

Common Whiplash Symptoms:

  • Stiffness to neck, arms, upper back, and even the face

  • Numbness into arms, neck and upper back

  • Headache, dizziness, nausea

  • Generalized weakness but more with head and neck

  • Altered sleeping habits and patterns

  • Difficulty with concentration

What Causes Whiplash?

  • Motor vehicle accident, typically a rear-ending or front of car type impact

  • Rapid forward and backward motion of the head as often sustained in football or other high energy contact sports, resulting in a whiplash headache 

How Can A Physical Therapist Help Me Recover From Whiplash?

If you are experiencing whiplash symptoms, it is best to visit a physical therapist as soon as possible. A physical therapist can determine the severity of your whiplash and can provide helpful treatments to speed up your recovery time. Physical therapy for whiplash after a car accident can greatly reduce your pain and offer 

Your physical therapist may recommend: 

  • Postural training

  • Manual therapy techniques to the cervical spine

  • Specific corrective exercise to address neck dysfunction and weakness

  • During acute stages, general light exercise such as walking may be recommended 

  • Medication and other modalities such as ice or heat may be necessary to provide whiplash headache pain relief 

  • Relaxation techniques such as “belly breathing”

Every individual and every episode of neck pain is very unique. The treatment suggestions for your physical therapy whiplash recovery program listed above include several options to try and see how they may improve your situation.

In addition, a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify specific features about your whiplash headache and how to best manage it during your physical therapy treatment for whiplash post car accident. 

Understanding as much as possible about your current condition is a very important aspect of the recovery process and will empower you to take the necessary steps to get back to your normal activities with as little discomfort as possible.

Jessica Jones

Physical Therapist

Jessica recently moved to Seattle from Boston, MA and is excited to join the Therapydia team. Her treatment experience includes orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, and vestibular therapy. Jessica received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 2016. She has completed the Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and is in the process of completing a Comprehensive Vestibular Rehabilitation certification. Jessica believes in empowering and inspiring patients to take control of their health through education, movement, and exercise. She enjoys treating patients of all ages and levels while utilizing soft tissue techniques, neuromuscular re-education, balance training as well as therapeutic exercise. In her free time, Jessica enjoys yoga, dancing, kayaking, and hiking with her dog!


Move Better with Physical Therapy

Same-day or next-day appointments are available for new patients.

"*" indicates required fields

Are you an existing patient or new patient?*

Appointment Preferences

Day of the week
What days are you free to come in?
Time of Day
What times work best for you?
Select which option applies