Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey


Cervical Vertebrae -- injuries; Low Back Pain -- therapy; Lumbar Vertebrae -- injuries; Physical Therapy Modalities; Whiplash Injuries -- therapy; Case Reports


Background and Purpose. There is a prevalence of whiplash mechanism injuries affecting the cervical spine following motor vehicle accidents. The approximate incidence in Western societies for whiplash associated disorder is 1 case for every 1,000 people in the population. The purpose of this case study is to describe the physical therapy examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and interventions used in the treatment of a patient with whiplash associated disorder.

Case Description. This case study describes the clinical presentation, physical therapy intervention, and outcomes of a young adult female following a rear end motor vehicle accident (MVA). The patient presented to physical therapy approximately three weeks following the accident, with decreased cervical range of motion, daily headaches, cervical pain, tight suboccipitals muscles, low back pain, and paresthesia into her right forearm.

Intervention. The treatment of this patient involved manual therapy, education, strengthening, range of motion, neuromuscular re-education, and upper and lower extremity neural mobilizations.

Outcomes. Following PT intervention, the patient achieved full cervical and lumbar range of motion, normal neurodynamics, decreased cervical and low back pain, improved posture, and complete alleviation of headaches. The patient also achieved complete alleviation of numbness and tingling into the forearm and tightness in cervical and low back muscles was also eliminated.

Discussion. It has been shown that patients who have been seen in the acute/sub-acute phase of whiplash associated disorder have better outcomes than those in the chronic phase if treated by physical therapy. This case study helps to provide a description of effective and quality treatment of whiplash associated disorder.