Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - woman with neck pain from whiplash

Dr Vodder’s Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Acute Whiplash

Acute Whiplash Definition

Whiplash occurs when the head experiences a forceful jerk. The most common causes of whiplash are car accidents, but it is also seen in sports. “Acute” simply refers to the early stages of an injury. Acute whiplash refers to the first stage of whiplash which normally lasts from 3-6 weeks. During this time whiplash symptoms are generally “sharper” or more intense than at any other stage.


Acute whiplash symptoms include pain, swelling, heat, limited range of motion and mild to extreme sensitivity to touch. Because of the intense pain and increased sensitivity often associated with acute whiplash many people find that even moderate treatments can actually increase the pain before making it better. For many this increased pain leads to less sleep and ultimately a slower recovery time in the first few weeks after the accident.

How Manual Lymphatic Drainage Helps

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a gentle approach that encourages proper blood flow to the injured areas without increasing the pain. Most treatment approaches encourage blood flow INTO injured areas. This is normally very helpful but in cases of swelling and inflammation it can often increase pain and actually slow the healing process. MLD works by increasing the flow of fluid AWAY from the injured areas encouraging a decrease in inflammation and swelling. This decreases the pain and also allows new blood carrying fresh nutrients can enter the area. This increase in healthy circulation can speed the healing process dramatically and significantly reduce the acute stage of the healing process. Once the injured areas are past the acute stage, more aggressive treatments can be used to help with full recovery of the injured areas.

Biranne Kokayko, one of our registered massage therapists, has undergone extensive training and is a Dr Vodder certified MLD / CDT Therapist. To make an appointment, contact us.