Blog, Whiplash

What Exercises Can I Do for Whiplash? A Path to Recovery

By Dr. Joseph Tanti

By Dr. Joseph Tanti

January 3, 2024

Steve was driving to work on a cool Tuesday morning when all of the sudden his life got flipped around. He wasa rear-ended. What came next was a whiplash injury. Weeks later, going at it alone, and seemingly getting worse he thought to himself – “what exercises can I do for whiplash?”

Exercises for whiplash, In combination with effective hands on therapies are often what is needed to make a full recovery. That may be a bit much to cover in thi sonne piece, so today we are focusing on the exercises component. 

Unfortunately, in this world where pain is often treated with pills first and questions later, navigating the road to recovery can feel like a maze. But here’s some good news: You’re not alone in this journey, and I’m ready to help you, just like I have for  hundreds before you. 

This guide offers you insights into understanding whiplash symptoms, seeking professional help from groups like CCGI (Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative), and engaging in neck mobility exercises and motor control workouts specifically designed for people involved in similar incidents. I will  also shed light on unique considerations for children and young adults experiencing such injuries.

But this will also guide you towards a healthier lifestyle. Listen – or read- up!

If you need more personalized and guided direction, consider requesting your RECOVERY BLUEPRINT Call. This is a Free, no-obligation, 15-minute call with Dr. Joseph Tanti, where you will have a clear BLUEPRINT of your options to improve your health and wellbeing.

Table Of Contents:

Understanding Whiplash and its Symptoms

A whiplash injury is often associated with car accidents, but can happen in many scenarios where sudden acceleration or deceleration forces are applied to the neck. This forceful motion leads to a rapid forward and backward movement of the head, similar to cracking a whip – hence the term ‘whiplash’.

The primary symptom that you’ll notice after such an incident is neck pain. But it’s not just limited to discomfort in your neck. The pain can radiate from your neck into your shoulders and arms as well. It Cana also give rise to headaches, dizziness, numbness, tingling, weakness, loss of balance and other concussisn like symptoms.

Recognizing Other Common Symptoms

In addition to neck pain, headaches frequently occur following a whiplash injury; these usually start at the base of the skull and may move towards the forehead.

You might also experience symptoms that aren’t necessarily related directly to your spine or muscles, like dizziness or blurred vision. These could indicate more severe damage from concussion resulting from extreme cases of whiplash injuries.

The Impact on Motor Control

Moving beyond immediate physical discomforts like headaches and concussions, we need to talk about motor control too. It refers broadly here to how our bodies coordinate movements – both voluntary ones (like reaching for something) and involuntary ones (like maintaining balance).

Your body relies heavily on sensory input when coordinating these actions – including proprioception (the awareness of one’s own body position). With an injury like whiplash disrupting normal neural communication between various parts within this system – most notably affecting connections along spinal pathways – it should come as no surprise if patients struggle with issues concerning motor control post-whip-lashing incidents.

Seeking Professional Help for Whiplash

If you’re grappling with the aftermath of a whiplash injury, seeking professional help is essential. The Canadian Chiropractic Guideline Initiative (CCGI) and their best practice collaborators are excellent resources.

The CCGI’s best practice collaborators specialize in offering training to healthcare providers dealing with patients like yourself. They make sure these professionals have all the tools they need to give optimal care.

Finding assistance doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start by getting your hands on patient forms and exercises provided by organizations such as the CCGI. These resources offer crucial insights into what kind of support you may need and how trained professionals can assist.

Finding Part Of The Solution With CCGI

In addition to providing world-class resources for patients and practitioners dealing with whiplash injuries, CCGI also actively involves people who’ve been through it themselves in various projects aimed at improving overall care quality and understanding this debilitating condition more deeply.The CCGI provides useful tools and resources that can be a real game changer in helping you make a full recovery.

Neck Mobility Exercises for Whiplash

After a whiplash injury, improving your neck mobility can be a challenge. But don’t worry. There are exercises designed to help regain strength and flexibility. CCGI hosts several neck mobility exercises that can be greatly helpful to regain your mobility after a whiplash injury.

Strengthening Your Shoulder Blades

The health of your shoulder blades is crucial in recovering from a whiplash injury. Why? Because these muscles support the cervical spine (your neck) and play an essential role in maintaining good posture. A strong back makes it easier for you to hold your head on straight, after all. 

Let’s start with an exercise called “the shrug”. Stand straight, pull your shoulders back, then lift them towards your ears slowly. Hold this position for 5 seconds before relaxing again. This helps improve the stability of both neck and shoulders.

You may also want to try wall angels – another excellent exercise that works wonders on strengthening shoulder blades as well as improving overall upper body posture.

Cervical Retraction Exercise

Moving on, let’s focus more directly on the neck region itself with what we call cervical retraction exercises – not nearly as scary as they sound.

To do this one right: sit tall at the edge of a chair; tuck chin slightly down; now draw it backward like trying to create double-chin effect (I know, so flattering.). This video tutorial demonstrates how it’s done correctly. You should feel slight tension but no pain while doing these movements.

For more exercises that will help with neck motor contorl, and shoulder blade strengthening check their video’s out. You won’t regret it!

Gentle Neck Stretches

Last but definitely not least: gentle stretches can really go far in alleviating stiffness associated with whiplash. Remember, it’s not a competition – take your time and don’t push beyond comfort zone.

Also, if a stretch feels good, yo udon’t need to push it even harder. That won’t necessarily make it better, and can actually hurt! So be gentle.

Begin by tilting your head to one side, as if trying to touch shoulder with ear (but without lifting the shoulder). Hold for 20 seconds then switch sides. This helps stretch neck muscles effectively.

Key Takeaway: 

Boosting neck mobility post-whiplash can be easy with the right exercises. Strengthen your shoulder blades and enhance posture using ‘the shrug’ and wall angels, while cervical retraction exercises focus on the neck. Finally, don’t underestimate gentle stretches for alleviating stiffness; slow and steady wins this race.

Motor Control Exercises for Whiplash

If you’re battling with whiplash, motor control exercises are highly recommended. They focus on helping regain control over movement in the neck region.

Exercise 1: Gentle Neck Tilts

This simple exercise is designed to restore mobility and strength in your neck post-whiplash.

  1. Sit up straight and look forward.
  2. Gently tilt your head towards one shoulder until a stretch is felt on the opposite side of the neck.

Don’t force it. Remember – pain-free movements only.

Exercise 2: The Chin Tuck

This strengthens deep muscles which provide support to our cervical spine – essentially acting as its natural brace.

  1. Sit or stand straight.
  2. Tuck chin down into chest while looking ahead.

Avoid discomfort by doing this slowly.


We encourage everyone dealing with whiplash injuries not just to use these exercises but also seek professional advice from health care providers who specialize in whiplash recovery. Just like a chiropractic orthopaedic specialist!

Remember, every person’s body reacts differently so make sure to find what works best for you.

Recommended Exercises for Children and Adolescents with Whiplash

If your child is dealing with whiplash, it’s crucial to know that their needs are different from adults. Here we focus on exercises tailored specifically for children and adolescents experiencing neck pain due to whiplash.

The good news is that children typically heal much faster than us old farts – errr, I mean, adults. 

The bad news is that we certainly don’t want our children ending up with chronic pain. So make sure they do the work to make aa full recovery!

Gentle Neck Stretches

Encourage your child to perform gentle neck stretches. It helps improve mobility while easing the discomfort associated with whiplash in children.

Have them slowly incline their head forward until they sense a slight strain in the rear of their neck. They should hold this position for about 10 seconds before returning to a neutral stance.

Straightening Up Exercise

This exercise aids in maintaining good posture – an important aspect when managing symptoms of whiplash in adolescents.

Instruct your kid to stand straight against a wall, making sure that both shoulder blades touch the wall surface. Hold this position for around 15 seconds before relaxing again.

Straighten up Canada is a great resource to help with this as well

The ‘Yes’ and ‘No’

Children often find these exercises fun because they mimic familiar movements – nodding ‘yes’ or shaking ‘no’. These simple activities can be highly effective at reducing neck pain linked with whiplash injury.

Remember not all exercises suit every young person’s needs so it’s key you monitor how these routines impact them.

Be mindful too that regularity is important; doing these drills consistently will lead towards better recovery. When I ask my children patients if they are doing their exercisesss, they usualy say YES! But when I ask how long they do them for, it is for maybe 5 seconds a day…Not enough. 

Ensure they are doing them regularly, and for an appropriate amount of time. 

If you notice increased discomfort or other issues during any of these activities, consult a healthcare professional promptly.

This list includes only a few examples. For more tailored advice, it’s recommended to seek professional guidance.

Whiplash is not something to be taken lightly; but with patience, perseverance and the right exercises, your child can overcome their injury.

Please remember that these exercises are suggestions and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen for your child or teenager.

Key Takeaway: 

Dealing with whiplash in children requires a different approach than adults. Encourage gentle neck stretches and straightening up exercises to ease discomfort and maintain good posture. Incorporate fun ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ movements, but always monitor your child’s response to these routines. Regular practice leads to better recovery, yet professional advice is crucial before starting any new regimen.

Additional Tips and Precautions for Whiplash Exercises

Moving forward with whiplash recovery, it’s crucial to have the right guidance. To speed up your whiplash recovery, we are here to provide you with essential advice.

Strengthening Your Neck Safely

Safety is paramount when performing neck strengthening exercises. It’s essential to use proper form and technique – improper execution can lead to more pain or even injury. So, make sure your movements are slow and controlled.

You should feel a gentle stretch, not pain during these exercises. If an exercise causes discomfort beyond mild muscle soreness, stop.

Gradual progression is another key aspect of safe training after a whiplash injury. Don’t rush into intense workouts; instead, start light and slowly increase intensity as your strength improves.

Pain management plays a critical role in your healing process too. Always listen to what your body tells you – if certain moves cause discomfort or exacerbate symptoms like headaches or dizziness – take a break. A comprehensive guide on managing pain may help you better understand how to cope with such situations while recovering from whiplash injuries.

Lastly but importantly remember that everyone heals at their own pace so don’t compare yourself with others’ progress rates.

Remember: Safety first.

Resources and Further Reading on Whiplash Exercises

For those looking to delve deeper into whiplash exercises, CCGI offers a comprehensive selection of guides that can help improve mobility post-whiplash. These materials can offer further insights into the best practices when dealing with a neck injury like whiplash.

CCGI is one of our top recommended sources, provides an extensive collection of guides on exercises that can improve your mobility post-whiplash. They cover not only neck-specific workouts but also delve into how to properly engage your shoulder blades during recovery sessions.

In addition, their PDF and video resources discuss the importance of maintaining proper form while exercising. Remember, improper technique could lead to more pain or even re-injury. So make sure to stand straight and perform all movements carefully and accurately.

You’ll also find valuable information in their patient forms section which helps in designing effective exercise regimens post-whiplash. It’s crucial because each individual’s healing journey is unique – what works wonders for one might not work as well for another.

To sum up – exploring these excellent online references will help enhance your knowledge about coping with whiphlash injuries better by following suitable exercise routines tailor-made for your needs. So go ahead, dive in.

Key Takeaway:

For a smoother recovery from whiplash, consider exploring the  resources from CCGI. They offer guides that teach you the right exercises and how to perform them safely. They also stress the need for personalized exercise plans because everyone’s healing process is unique. So, dig in!

FAQs in Relation to What Exercises Can I Do for Whiplash?

What exercises are best for whiplash?

Neck mobility and motor control exercises, like cervical spine (neck) movements and shoulder blade strengthening, can be a big help with whiplash.

What is the fastest way to recover from whiplash?

The quickest recovery route includes seeking professional advice – like a chiropractic orthopaedic specialist -, having appropriate manual therapy from an expert, doing prescribed exercises regularly, taking it slow with progression, and managing pain effectively.

Should you exercise with whiplash?

Absolutely. Exercising helps regain neck movement control post-whiplash. But remember to do them safely under guidance and don’t push too hard.

What is the best physical therapy for whiplash?

Cervical spine manipulation, mobilization, stretches, soft tissue therapies along with specific neck-focused strengthening workouts tend to yield good results in recovering from a whiplash injury. Modalities such as Low Level Laser Therapy can also be helpful in the acute phase.

Impending Whiplash Is Never Good


Though a whiplash injury can change your life in the blink of an eye, it does not have to stay that way. Now that we’ve navigated the maze of recovery together, exploring what exercises we can do for whiplash, you have the tools to get better.

We learned about the symptoms and impact of a whiplash injury on our motor control. But we didn’t stop there; we discovered resources from organizations like CCGI that provide  the support needed to recover in this journey towards wellness.

Exercises focusing on neck mobility and strengthening shoulder blades are especially important.. These are not just movements but tools empowering us to regain control over our bodies post-injury.

We also discussed considerations for children and adolescents experiencing such injuries – because everyone deserves a path back to health, regardless of age.

So here’s your takeaway: Whiplash is tough, but with patience, correct exercise techniques and professional guidance you’re tougher!

If you have found this helpful, but need personalized and guided direction, consider requesting your RECOVERY BLUEPRINT Call. This is a Free, no-obligation, 15-minute call with Dr. Joseph Tanti, where you will have a clear BLUEPRINT of your options to improve your health and wellbeing.

Or if you would like an in person assessment, feel free to schedule an in office appointment. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Dr. Joseph Tanti

About the author

I am a husband, and father, love dogs AND cats, and I am a chiropractor. I help people recover from pain, and injuries and improve their overall health and well-being, and have fun doing it!

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