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Neck and upper back pain may occur immediately or in a somewhat delayed fashion after an auto crash. If you have neck pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, tight muscles, and burning or tingling sensations in your neck or upper back, you may have whiplash. Most cases of whiplash can be treated with non-surgical chiropractic methods that help to relieve pain and restore mobility.

Whiplash most frequently occurs during car crashes when a car is rear-ended. It may also result from sports, work, or violence related injuries. The injury occurs when the head moves forward, backwards, or sideways suddenly, often in extreme degrees of flexion and extension. The muscles, ligaments, joints, or spine structures may be damaged.

Your chiropractor will review your medical history and conduct some tests to help diagnose whiplash. You should tell your doctor about your incident and your symptoms. Diagnostic imaging may be used to help identify injured soft tissues or bones. Most cases of whiplash may be treated without out surgery. However, your chiropractor will refer you to a surgeon if it appears that your injury warrants surgery.

Non-surgical treatments for whiplash include gentle chiropractic adjustment, cervical traction, heat therapy, cold therapy, physical therapy, or a combination of treatments. It is important to follow your chiropractor’s instructions while you heal. Most cases of whiplash heal in about two to four weeks with treatment.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit