Whiplash

If you have a whiplash injury, it’s important to seek expert medical care. The team at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) accurately diagnoses whiplash so you can get the care you need. We provide the full range of whiplash treatment, including physical therapy and chiropractic medicine.

Whiplash, an injury to the neck, is one of the common results of a car accident or sports collision. Also called neck sprain or neck strain, whiplash requires expert medical care to avoid the risk for further injury. 

Whiplash can be challenging to diagnose, but our team has a high level of expertise from treating hundreds of people every year. After confirming a diagnosis, we discuss your treatment options with you. Typically, people find relief through nonsurgical treatments, such as chiropractic medicine. Our goal is to help you return to your active life, without pain.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused when the neck “whips,” or forcibly bends forward and backward. Whiplash involves many structures in the neck, including muscles, disks, nerves and tendons.

Causes of whiplash include:

  • Rear-end car accident
  • Sports injury, especially during contact sports
  • Physical abuse, such as in shaken baby syndrome

If you experience severe neck pain after an injury such as a car accident, diving accident or fall, seek medical attention. A doctor or paramedic should immobilize your neck to avoid the risk for further injury and possible paralysis. 

Why choose LVHN for whiplash treatment?

When you come to LVHN, you will find:

  • Expert diagnosis: Whiplash damages the soft tissue, an injury that can’t be seen on an X-ray. Our skilled doctors use their experience and expertise to diagnose whiplash through a physical examination and medical history.  
  • Full range of nonsurgical treatments: Our team includes experts trained in chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, physiatry and pain management. We provide every treatment option available.   

Whiplash symptoms

Symptoms include: 

  • Pain in the neck, shoulder, lower back, arm or hand
  • Neck stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Arm or hand numbness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Sleeplessness or fatigue

Whiplash diagnosis

We often confirm the diagnosis after discussing your medical history and performing a physical examination. We do not typically use X-rays because whiplash injuries can’t be seen on an X-ray. We may perform testing:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: X-rays and computer technology produce detailed images of the body.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A large magnet and radio waves produce detailed images of the body. 

Whiplash treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Medications such as painkillers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), muscle relaxers or lidocaine injections
  • Ice for the first 24 hours
  • Cervical collar
  • Gentle, active movement after 24 hours
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic treatment

You will most likely recover completely within two to three months after the injury. Physical therapy is an important part of your follow-up care, especially deep tissue massage. This type of massage helps with chronic pain, limited mobility and recovery from injuries.

Advanced Spine Center

If you are experiencing whiplash pain, call our Advanced Spine Center. A nurse navigator will discuss your symptoms and medical history with you and direct you to the care provider you need. Get the right care at the right time, call 888-402-LVHN.

Learn more about the Advanced Spine Center.

Physical therapy

Our inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation specialists develop a customized plan to help relieve back pain and other symptoms. Our goal is to help you return to your daily activities as quickly as possible.

Learn more about physical therapy options.