Car accident? A step by step guide to manage your pain and whiplash symptoms


So you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident …

Unfortunately they happen, and the results can be quite painful. You may have experienced one of the most common injuries to the neck and upper back called whiplash.


What does whiplash feel like?

Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness and headaches. Other injuries acquired from a car accident include back pain, joint pain, and muscle pain. These symptoms occur when the vertebral joints, muscles and nerves are subjected to uncommon forces and movements associated with a car crash.d


What will I feel after the crash?

  • Most people develop symptoms of an injury within 24 hours after an accident.
  • However, it is not unusual for some to develop pain, stiffness and other symptoms as late as 7 to 10 days after an accident.
  • Severe symptoms such as acute back pain or arm/leg pain are also common.
  • It is important to be aware that the effects of substantive crashes may recur over 6 to 18 months.
  • For most people, pain and other symptoms associated with spinal injury usually decreases with a gradual return to normal activity.
  • Most car crash injuries are not life-threatening and people often recover to their pre-accident condition. Symptoms and effects will lessen gradually.
  • The amount of disruption to normal activities varies with the circumstances of the crash.

Can chiropractors treat whiplash?

Absolutely. After an initial consultation and examination, the chiropractor will perform tasks to ease whiplash symptoms which may include:

  • Soft tissue therapy and joint mobilizations/manipulation     
  • Modification to current activities at the workplace or at home
  • Home stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Ergonomic advice to facilitate a safe return to work

My physician told me I have a concussion with my car accident – what does this mean?

A concussion can occur with motor vehicle accidents, regardless of their severity, due to the movement of the brain in the cranial vault. The result is mild swelling and bruising which medical practitioners diagnose as a concussion. Common symptoms include sensitivity to light, sound, and smells, as well as nausea and a general cognitive fog making it difficult to work or interact with others.


How do ICBC and Chiropractors in British Columbia work together to help patients heal?

ICBC Accident Benefits help you access the services you’ll need to recover, no matter who is responsible (at fault) in the crash. Here’s an idea of the treatment process if you’re injured in a crash:



You can work with your preferred health care provider, such as a chiropractor, to help you recover from a crash. They will assess your injuries, develop a treatment plan and write an assessment report to ICBC. This report helps your claim representative better understand your diagnosis and support your recovery.



Is there a limit to how many times I can visit the chiropractor for my injuries?

For the first 12 weeks after your crash, you can get up to 25 chiropractic visits. Your recovery may require additional treatment beyond 12 weeks after a crash. If your chiropractor has indicated that your treatment plan needs to be extended, contact your claim representative. They’ll discuss how your benefits can continue to support your recovery.


When should I visit my chiropractor after an accident?

It is important that you have an examination by a chiropractor as soon as possible to support the recovery process. The good news is that most people get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan.


Can I visit other practitioners, such as a massage therapist or physiotherapist, while seeing the chiropractor?

Definitely! Our model supports interdisciplinary care, and the hope is that by seeing multiple practitioners early on while you have symptoms supports a quicker recovery from your pain. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to bring this up with your doctor.


Still have questions?

Don’t worry – we’re here to help. Please feel free to contact our clinic at 604-430-1525 or use our contact us form – we will do our best to answer your queries.

– Source: BC Chiropractic Association

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