Whiplash is a common injury affecting people involved in a car accident. In fact, whiplash is the most common traffic injury affecting approximately 83% of those people involved in a motor vehicle accident. For some, the condition resolves quickly. For others (10% according to the literature), whiplash can turn into chronic neck pain. According to some literature, some risk factors for developing chronic neck pain after whiplash have been identified. They are as follows…

High initial pain level

Unfortunately, it seems that the higher your initial pain after a whiplash accident, the greater the chance that your symptoms will be chronic.



High Initial Headache Intensity

Similar to the first risk factor, if you have really strong headaches after the accident, there is a greater likelihood that your symptoms will become chronic.

Pins and Needles In The Arms

If you’ve been in an automobile accident, experienced whiplash and now have symptoms in one or both of your arms, there may be a greater chance of having chronic symptoms. These arm symptoms are often referred to as radiculopathy and can be described as numbness, tingling, pins and needles, burning, a feeling like your arm is asleep or you hit your “funnybone”.


According to the literature, females are more likely than males to experience chronic whiplash symptoms.

Neck Stiffness

Most people experience stiffness in their neck after a whiplash injury. If you have a significant loss of motion though, it might make you more prone to chronic whiplash symptoms.

Whiplash Treatment

It’s important to keep in mind that only a small percentage of people develop chronic whiplash symptoms. Despite these identified risk factors, only 10% of people complain of their whiplash symptoms in the long term. For most, whiplash is a temporary inconvenience that can be treated effectively and efficiently with chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage. Our clinic usually treats whiplash with methods like active release technique, acupuncture, interferential current (IFC), chiropractic adjustments, joint mobilizations, stretching and strengthening and laser therapy. If you’ve been in an automobile accident and are looking for treatment in the Burlington area, feel free to contact us! Info@burlingtonsportstherapy.com

Cote P et al. Early aggressive care and delayed recovery from whiplash: isolated finding or reproducible result? Arthritis and Rheumatism 2007; 57(5):681-688.
Kongsted A et al. Neck collar, act as usual, or active mobilization for whiplash injury? A randomized parallel group trial. Spine 2007; 32(6): 618-625.
Nolet PS, Cote P, Cassidy JD, Carroll LJ. The association between a lifetime history of neck injury in a motor vehicle collision and future neck pain: a population based cohort study. European Spine Journal 2010.