Healthy Blog

Whiplash Treatment - Recovering Strength & Mobility through Physiotherapy

Thursday, December 10, 2015

After a whiplash injury has happened the injured person needs to be immobilised as soon as possible to prevent further damage.  The symptoms of whiplash can include any or all of the following:

  • Dizziness - Headache
  • Neck pain - Shoulder pain - Pain in arm/s
  • Weakness, tingling or loss of function in arms/legs

When a doctor has fully assessed the injury, she’ll prescribe a treatment plan that can include:

  • Painkillers - muscle relaxants
  • Bed rest - Neck rest - Neck massage
  • Heat therapy - Ice therapy
  • Physiotherapy exercises starting 72 hours after injury to restore flexibility

Physiotherapy for Whiplash

Following a whiplash injury, activity has to be reduced, but a long period of rest without activity is not good.  Once the pain has reduced sufficiently, the physiotherapist will examine your neck for range of movement, pain/tingling sensations and muscle strength.

If the pain is still bad, the physio will start gentle exercises you can do lying down to begin the process of restoring range of movement to your neck. 


Massage to the neck, shoulder and upper chest relaxes any remaining tension and stimulates the nervous system which helps reduce pain.  In addition, your physio will teach you special exercises to correct your posture, ensuring you don’t have neck problems in the future.


As the pain settles, the physiotherapist will be able to look for pain and restricted movement in the spine joints and use massage and mobilisation techniques to loosen any problem areas.  Simple neck exercises with the physio will continue increasing the range of movement regularly and gradually restoring the full function of the neck joints.

Return to normal

Eventually you’ll be able to do a full range of exercises to strengthen your shoulders, neck and upper chest focussed on a return to normal daily activities and sport.  You can help yourself greatly and speed up your recovery by following all the physio’s advice and doing the home exercises regularly.  

Whiplash injuries vary in severity and a serious accident can put you out of action for quite a while. But if you keep a positive attitude and concentrate on slow but steady progress, you’ll overcome the setback and resume your life as a healthy, fit individual!