It’s estimated that 2.5 million people are injured in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) per year, and of those individuals involved in an MVA, 83% are likely to experience whiplash symptoms. Unfortunately, many people do not seek treatment for their neck pain and symptoms continue for a long period of time. Whiplash-associated disorders’ (WAD) is a term used to describe the common symptoms after an acceleration or deceleration injury. Common symptoms following a whiplash injury include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, arm pain, numbness, and tingling down the arms.

Following a whiplash injury, the fastest recovery happens in the first two to three months with a steady plateau of recovery after that. Physical therapy can assist with the management of your WAD symptoms by utilizing a variety of treatments. A physical therapist would emphasize improving the patient’s deficits following a car accident as well as listening to the patient’s personal goals. Recovery interventions may include but are not limited to increasing cervical mobility, strengthening using different exercises, manual techniques to improve tissue tightness, and patient education.

If you have recently been in a car accident or are experiencing the common symptoms of whiplash listed above, reach out to your local physical therapist to get back on the road to recovery!


Sterling, Michele. “Physiotherapy Management of Whiplash-Associated Disorders (WAD).” Journal of Physiotherapy, vol. 60, no. 1, 2014, pp. 5–12., doi:10.1016/j.jphys.2013.12.004.

Yadla S, RatliffJK, Harrop JS. Whiplash: Diagnosis, treatment, and associ¬ated injuries. Curr Rev Musculoskeletal Med. 2008;l(I):65-68. doi:10.1007/ sl2178-007-9008-x.