How is Whiplash Treated?

Women holding the back of her neck in pain due to whiplash.

NYC doctors provide insight into treatment options.

After a car accident or sports injury, our bodies often bear the brunt of the impact, and one common injury suffered is whiplash. Whiplash is a strain or sprain to the neck. And while whiplash is common, many people may not know how to treat it. This is critical since untreated neck, back, and spinal cord injuries can result in complications, so finding the right medical treatment option is crucial.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury that commonly occurs to the neck when the head is suddenly jerked backward and then forward, resembling the motion of a whip. The rapid back-and-forth movement can strain and damage the soft tissues in the neck, including muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Whiplash symptoms

Whiplash is a fairly common injury that shows itself in various ways. In some cases, whiplash symptoms may not appear right away at all. Delayed pain and other delayed symptoms are common and can last for days to months. And even if your symptoms are mild at first, they can get worse over time and often include:

  • Painful zones:
    • Neck
    • Shoulder
    • Lower back
    • Arm or hand
  • Physical signals:
    • Neck stiffness
    • Dizziness
    • Numbness in the arm or hand
  • Sensory alerts:
    • Ringing in the ears
    • Blurred vision
  • Cognitive challenges:
    • Concentration or memory problems
  • Sleep disruptions:
    • Sleeplessness
    • Fatigue


How is whiplash diagnosed?

Diagnosing whiplash typically involves discussing your medical history and conducting a physical examination since whiplash injuries aren't usually visible on X-rays. In some cases, a doctor may use a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan, which uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce highly detailed body images. At IMC Bone Doc, all of our locations are equipped with an MRI machine in each office.

Treatment options for whiplash

Recovering from whiplash often involves finding the right treatment path. Just like people experience whiplash differently, there are various ways to address it. While rest, gentle activities, and ice can often be an effective treatment for whiplash, symptoms may continue, and further medical care may be necessary. The bottom line is that it's always best to consult a doctor to choose the best treatment option for your whiplash injury.


Medications like painkillers can lessen the pain you might be feeling. Anti-inflammatory meds may also be recommended to bring down any swelling that could be happening in your neck. Muscle relaxers are another type of medicine. These are like a helping hand for your muscles, making them less tense and more relaxed. In some cases, doctors might even provide lidocaine injections. These anesthetic injections are used as numbing medicine that can help reduce pain and discomfort in specific areas.

Physical therapy

You'll receive a personalized exercise plan through physical therapy to strengthen your neck muscles and be more flexible while reducing pain. A physical therapist will guide you through specific movements and stretches to promote a speedy recovery.

Pain management

Pain can be a severely disabling aspect of a whiplash injury, impacting daily life and activities. Island Musculoskeletal Care offers the expertise of Dr. Stephen Wade, a board-certified pain management specialist, to prioritize effective pain management for whiplash and improve patients' well-being.

Learn the best whiplash treatment option for you

While cases of whiplash can be frequent in New York, treatment plans may be different for each individual. The confusion and challenge of picking the best treatment can be eased with the help of a medical professional at IMC Bone Doc in New York. Our team of skilled orthopedic surgeons can address your symptoms and begin treatment for a smooth recovery. Contact us today to learn more about your whiplash treatment options.

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