Whiplash Treatment: A Spokane Valley Chiropractor’s Perspective

Whiplash Treatment: A Spokane Valley WA Chiropractor's Perspective

Chiropractic Spokane Valley WA whiplash

As a chiropractor in Spokane Valley WA one of the most common conditions we help people with is whiplash. Each year over one million people in the United States sustain whiplash injuries from auto accidents, sports, outdoor activities, or falls. The term “whiplash” describes a sudden acceleration or deceleration where the head is thrown forward, backward, or sideways then it rebounds in the opposite direction.

Some common symptoms that can result from a whiplash injury include headaches, neck or back pain, stiffness, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, memory loss, visual disturbances, weakness, or numbness in arms or hands. It is estimated that 75% of people who suffer from a whiplash injury will get better, around 25% won’t get better, and have some type of long-term residual chronic disorder due to the injury.

Whiplash injuries occur due to sudden changes in the entire spine’s alignment and surrounding tissues. Yet, most treatment options (massage, modalities, pain medications, injections, or run-of-the-mill exercise programs) generally just address the short-term pain and not the more serious underlying causes. It is best to focus on the cause by correcting the spine the earlier the better because even though the pain may subside after a few days or weeks, it starts the degeneration process of the spine with permanent damage starting to set in after just two weeks!

At River City Chiropractic, our goal is to correct your posture and spinal alignment along with the soft tissues surrounding it, not just put a band-aid on the symptoms. In the neck, there are several structures that can get injured or damaged from whiplash such as the joints, ligaments, muscles, or discs. Each one can produce different types of pain in different areas of the body, which is why it is best to see a health professional such as a corrective chiropractor in Spokane Valley WA to have a comprehensive evaluation done to determine the source of the pain and extent of the damage resulting from the whiplash.

Play Video


Comprehensive Consultation, Exam, and X-Rays

Before we can begin treating your whiplash, we must first identify the root cause and the mechanism of injury for the whiplash which is why every new patient encounter at our Spokane Valley WA chiropractic office involves a comprehensive history to find out what happened in the past and present along with lifestyle choices that may be contributing to the issues at hand.

The next step would be a thorough exam consisting of postural and range of motion analysis, orthopedic and neurological testing, bilateral weight testing, spinal motion palpation, and if necessary spinal X-rays to determine the exact location, the extent of the damage, and formulate a custom care plan to help correct the spine along with the surrounding soft tissues.

Corrective Chiropractic Care For Effective Whiplash Solution

Here at River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA, we specialize in spinal corrective care. Just a small percentage of chiropractors have this approach and training. In whiplash injuries where the head is violently jerked around spinal misalignments, also known as subluxations, can result along with loss of the normal spinal curvature in the neck. When people lose the natural curvature or have subluxations that can cause irritation or compression of the spinal nerves, the tension of the spinal cord, or lead to spinal degeneration resulting in headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, numbness in the hands, along with many other health issues. In addition to the spine itself, the surrounding soft tissues such as the muscles, ligaments, or spinal discs are often damaged as well.

Our goal at River City Chiropractic is to not only help people get relief from the pain resulting from the whiplash but also to correct their spine and posture so the issues don’t continue to come back through spinal adjustments and a comprehensive spinal exercise program performed in the office as well as at home to repair and remodel the surrounding soft tissues.

Play Video

Custom Therapeutic Exercise Program For Whiplash

At River City Chiropractic Spokane Valley we custom make a home exercise program and provide spinal homecare equipment that helps our patients get better and long-lasting results. Following a thorough exam/x-ray and report of findings our doctor at River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA will create a home exercise plan that is specific to your posture and x-ray findings. With this program comes some special spinal rehab equipment to help our patients in Spokane Valley WA get better results, faster. We also have access to a database of thousands of stretches/exercises with videos that can be prescribed to our patients to help them with core stability or address any other muscle weakness or tightness concerns. These exercises are designed to help people get relief faster, hold adjustments longer, prevent further degeneration, and restore the natural curvature in the neck.

Play Video

Spinal Decompression For Whiplash

Whiplash injuries can frequently cause protruding or bulging spinal discs in the neck. The spinal discs are the gel-like cushion between the vertebrae that enable the spine to bend and twist. However, due to loss of normal spinal curvature or improper movement of the spine, the spinal discs can protrude or begin to breakdown which causes compression on the spinal cord and or nerves in the neck often resulting in neck or shoulder pain, numbness/tingling, or muscle weakness in the arm or hands. Whiplash injuries that go uncorrected over time cause faster degeneration of the spine than normal.

Spinal surgery to treat disc problems can be very expensive and risky in the sense of potential complications as well as outcomes. A much safer and more effective alternative is spinal decompression therapy, which works by gently stretching the spine relieving the pressure off the spinal discs and nerves. At River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA we use the Back On Trac spinal decompression chair which assists in hydrating the discs, restoring normal spinal motion and curvature as well as adding in heat and vibration to relax any tight muscles for optimal results. The Back On Trac decompression chair has been a great addition to our Spokane Valley WA clinic helping our patients get relief from whiplash trauma quickly and safely.

Play Video


Whiplash is a common injury people in Spokane Valley WA can have following an auto accident, football, fall snow or water skiing, or other sporting activities. With whiplash, the head moves forward and backward quickly causing damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. It is very important to address whiplash quickly because even if the initial pain subsides the spine will continue to degenerate over time. Here at River City Chiropractic Spokane Valley we treat many people with whiplash injuries both acute and chronic and see great success helping them to resolve this problem.

Myth #1 - I feel fine and have little to no pain so I must be OK.

Just because you feel fine, does not necessarily mean you are fine and didn’t suffer any injuries. Pain is not always a good indicator of damage because only 5-10% of the nerves in your body sense pain. Just like someone can have an artery clogged 60-90% and have no symptoms and then have a major heart attack, nerves can be irritated or damaged, but if it is not affecting the nerves that transmit pain you may not experience any pain. In addition, even in a low-speed rear impact collision of 8 mph, the head can move roughly 18 inches and experience forces up to 7 G’s in less than a second! To put that in perspective the Discovery space shuttle was built to only withstand a max of 3 G’s.

Myth #2 - I went to the hospital or urgent care and they said I was fine and sent me home with some muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories so I guess I am alright.

These facilities have a different definition for “fine” because they are looking for fractures, internal bleeding, or serious life-threatening injuries not necessarily the alignment of the spine or any damage to the muscles, nerves, ligaments or spinal discs. When you are on a bunch of medications things may seem fine on the surface, but the spinal degeneration process is starting to take place and scar tissue begins to form. Recent studies at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden suggest that rapid changes in the spinal column pressure cause damage to the nerves. The rapid change in the spinal fluid result in pressure damage to nerve fibers because the forces that occur during a rear impact happen too fast to allow a normal fluid exchange.

Myth #3 - It was just a “minor” fender bender and there was very little damage to the vehicle, so I think I am fine.

Car manufacturers' use of rigid or stiff motor vehicle bodies and chassis as well as improved bumper systems produce an increased G force to occupants involved in car accidents. So what that can mean if there was little damage to the vehicle is all that force was transferred to the passengers in the vehicle!

Play Video


Is a chiropractor in Spokane Valley WA good for helping whiplash?

Absolutely!! Seeing a chiropractor for anyone experiencing whiplash should be their first stop. At River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA we have excellent results helping people reduce or eliminate their neck pain or other whiplash symptoms along with pain medications to treat it!

When should I see a chiropractor in Spokane Valley WA following a whiplash injury?

As soon as possible! The sooner you get evaluated and begin treatment the better and faster outcomes you will have because there will be less time for scar tissue to develop.

Should I wear a cervical collar following a whiplash trauma?

It is not recommended to wear a cervical collar following whiplash trauma. Instead of using ice or heat to help with pain, gentle stretching exercises, along with chiropractic care will yield much better results and reduce the accumulation of scar tissue in the neck.


8:00am - 6:00pm

3:30pm - 5:30pm

8:00am - 6:00pm

11:00am - 5:30pm


Saturday & Sunday

River City Chiropractic

15413 E Valleyway Ave Building B Suite 100
Spokane Valley, WA 99037

(509) 241-3088
Chiropractic Spokane Valley WA radio show

Dr. Brian Wickstrom's True Health Talk

KTW 630AM & 96.5 FM

Mondays & Thursdays @ 12:30pm
Saturdays @ 10:00am

Radio Shows

Listen to the latest radio shows
by Dr. Wickstrom!