Whiplash care—a physical therapy program for the non-surgical treatment of whiplash—uses movement to ensure that new tissue grows correctly. Patients typically undergo treatment for two to four weeks, though recovery times can vary, particularly for patients who didn’t seek treatment right away.
As with all other physical therapy plans, whiplash care begins with an evaluation of the patient’s condition and pain level before beginning treatment. Because this kind of therapy plan emphasizes active recovery, patients perform exercises that increase strength, reduce pain, improve range of motion, and promote proper body alignment and posture. Physical therapists also provide guidance on how to safely return to regular exercise and daily activity after injury, including how to modify activity, if necessary.
In addition to exercise, whiplash care requires passive treatments—like cold and heat therapy, ultrasound, deep tissue massage, and other manual manipulations—to relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, reduce spasms, and promote healing.
Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, whiplash care may also include cervical traction (which stretches the neck muscles and joints) or immobilization (to https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plansreduce pain and inflammation). To keep the neck still, a physical therapist may recommend a brief period of bed rest, wearing a padded neck collar for 24 to 48 hours after injury, or the use of a cervical support pillow while sleeping.