Couple suffers whiplash after car accident.

Acupuncture for Auto Accident Injuries

Aches and pains can linger long after an auto accident. If you're not rebounding as quickly as you'd hoped, acupuncture could jumpstart your recovery.

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture restores balance to your body, which enhances healing. Imbalances can occur when Qi, a crucial life force becomes blocked. Qi travels through your body in a system of pathways called meridians. Blockages may slow healing and cause inflammation and pain after an auto accident.

During acupuncture treatments, your acupuncturist removes blockages by inserting needles into strategic spots on the affected meridian. As Qi flows freely again, pain and other symptoms may decrease or disappear completely. Although a treatment that uses needles may sound painful, most people only report a slight aching or tingling sensation when the hair-thin needles are inserted into the skin.

Treating Whiplash with Acupuncture

Whiplash is a common complaint after an auto accident. More than 840,000 people visit U.S. hospitals every year for whiplash treatment, according to a 2020 analysis in Accident Analysis and Prevention. The condition occurs when your neck "whips" back and forth when your car stops suddenly or hits another vehicle or stationary object.

Whiplash strains the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments in your neck. Symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, swelling, dizziness, headaches, muscle spasms, trouble concentrating, and tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers. Unfortunately, whiplash symptoms may last weeks or months. While you wait to get better, your symptoms may make concentrating at work or school, caring for your family, or enjoying your usual activities difficult.

Acupuncture offers an effective way to treat whiplash. Unlike traditional medical treatments, acupuncture doesn't cause any side effects and can help you manage any side effects you may be experiencing due to prescription pain medications.

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMJ Open in 2024 noted the positive effects of acupuncture treatment for whiplash. According to the researchers, acupuncture treatments reduced pain and improved range of motion in whiplash patients.

Other Benefits of Acupuncture

Scheduling an acupuncture appointment after your auto accident offers physical and mental health benefits. Acupuncture benefits include:

  • Pain Relief. Acupuncture relieves pain by regulating the brain's pain control center and increasing the production of pain-killing hormones, like serotonin and endorphins.
  • Less Inflammation. Inflammation helps your body heal initially but can increase pain and stiffness if it continues too long. Inflammation could be to blame for your stiff knee, aching back, or ongoing shoulder pain. Acupuncture treatment spurs your body to produce dopamine, a chemical messenger that reduces inflammation naturally.
  • Improvement of Chronic Pain. It's never too late to visit the acupuncturist, even if your accident happened weeks, months or years ago. In fact, acupuncture is an excellent way to control chronic pain. A meta-analysis published in The Journal of Pain in 2018 revealed that treatment results were long-lasting and offered better results than sham (fake) acupuncture treatment or no treatment.
  • Better Flexibility. Inflammation and scar tissue can be factors if you have reduced range of motion in a joint or your muscles or joints feel tight. Acupuncture treatments reduce stiffness, improve flexibility, and may prevent scar tissue formation.
  • No More Anxiety. Anxiety can be a problem after surviving a car accident. According to a 2022 meta-analysis and systematic review in Medicine, acupuncture can reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder without any side effects. The researchers noted that additional research into the effects of acupuncture on anxiety is needed.
  • Better Sleep. Are you struggling to sleep due to pain, headaches, or anxiety? Endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine released during acupuncture treatment calm your mind and ease your pain, which may improve the quantity and quality of sleep.
  • Increased Circulation. Acupuncture improves blood circulation, ensuring that every part of the body receives the healing white blood cells and nutrients circulating in your bloodstream.

Feeling a few aches and pains after an auto accident? Acupuncture offers a drug-free way to ease your symptoms. Contact our office if you'd like to take advantage of the healing effects of acupuncture.


Accident Analysis and Prevention: Estimating the Number of Traffic Crash-Related Cervical Spine Injuries in the United States: An Analysis and Comparison of National Crash and Hospital Data, 7/2020

BMJ Open: Efficacy of Acupuncture for Whiplash Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 1/2024

PubMed: The Journal of Pain: Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis, 5/2018

NCBI: Medicine: Efficacy of Acupuncture for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A PRISMA-Compliant Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 12/9/2022

Mayo Clinic: Whiplash, 2/17/2024


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