Whiplash: One home treatment you should never do!

bottle of NSAIDSYou have been involved in an auto accident and suffered a whiplash injury to your neck. The pain is excruciating: your neck hurts, your head is pounding and it’s hard to turn your neck! All you can think of is relief, so you reach for the bottle of ibuprofen – STOP! This is one home treatment you should never do!

Research has shown over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen slows your recovery and weakens the damaged muscles and ligaments.

In most whiplash type injury, there is damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support and move the bones in our neck. The force of the collision causes a rapid over stretching of these tissues resulting in micro-tearing in their fibers. This damage starts a very complex inflammation and swelling process, which also results in the pain and stiffness, you feel.

The initial inflammation, while it produces pain, also sets up the repair and healing process of the damaged muscles and ligaments. It is here the use of anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can interfere with the normal repair process and result in an incomplete healing and weakened muscles.


Ibuprofen is just one of many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs known as: NSAIDS – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some of the common ones are: Bayer, Bufferin, Excedrin, Advil, Motrin, Doan’s Pills and many others. Their two main purposes are to decrease pain and inflammation. Unfortunately, the research demonstrates that as they do their job, they also slow the body’s repair process.

One study revealed that muscle strength was only 40% of normal and there was minimal muscle repair after ONLY 4 DAYS of NSAID use! (1)

A second study revealed a 300% decrease in muscle tendon strength after 4 weeks of using ibuprofen! (2)

A third study demonstrated that after 28 days of using NSAIDS after an injury, the repair/regeneration was still delayed and there was muscle weakness due to incomplete healing. (3)

In short, one home therapy for a whiplash type injury you should never do is use NSAIDS. If you do, you are interfering with the repair process and setting yourself up for incomplete healing and muscle weakness!

The next time you find yourself injured, think twice before you reach for the pain reliever! Why not try a natural approach: try chiropractic!

Dr. Martin graduated from Life Chiropractic College in Atlanta GA, where he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree. He is one of only a few board-certified chiropractic orthopedists in the metro St Louis region. As a Diplomate of the International Academy of Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine, he uses the latest neuroscience research to make the best diagnosis of the cause of your pain as the starting point for your recovery. Call (314) 731-4383 today to schedule your appointment.

  1. 1. Greene, J. Cost-conscious prescribing of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for adults with arthritis. Archives of Internal Medicine. 1992; 152:1995-2002.
  2. 2. Kulick, M. Oral ibuprofen: evaluation of its effect on peritendinous adhesions and the breaking strength of a tenorrhaphy. The Journal of Hand Surgery. 1986; 11A:100-119.
  3. 3. Almekinders, L. An in vitro investigation into the effects of repetitive motion and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication on human tendon fibroblasts. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 1995; 23:119-123.