I was rear-ended about 10 days ago and have been suffering from some "mild" whiplash. My doctor said I shouldn't run until I felt better, but my massage therapist says she thinks it would be ok to go for a short, easy run. I am really missing my runs. I was supposed to run a half marathon in 2 weeks, but it's looking doubtful now. I don't want to aggravate my neck/back, but I need some exercise!!! Anyone dealt with this before?
C25K completion - July 2009
2/12/11 - 10K - 1:09:34
4/30/11 - 5K - 33:22
5/7/11 - 5K - 35:24
7/30/11 - 5K - 31:43
10/22/11 - 8K - 51:55 (very hilly!)
10/29/11 - 5K - 25:20
6/2/2012 - half marathon - 2:20:15
The doc says wait until you feel better...
Do you feel better? If you and your therapist feel better about your chances, it is probable that the problem appeared to be muscular - as whiplash injuries often are - and you are on the mend. If so, a half-marathon should not be too much of a strain on a portion of your anatomy that will be well balanced, and not strained by the event unless you encounter tremendous headwinds. If you were on the other hand say, a mud wrestler... I'd say no.
The doc's concern is no doubt based on the possibility of vertebral damage, which would probably not respond well to impact exercise, and might not be feeling better so soon. The doc put the ball in your court, so be honest about how you feel and follow the sound advice you've been given. Exercise has circulatory benefits that should speed healing in cases of muscular injury, as long as the exercise does not strain the injured muscles further.
I got whiplash, twice, and both times I continued to run while treating with my chiropractor. My general practitioner wanted to put me on a steroid. Both times I did fine. I just had to be careful looking both ways before crossing streets as I couldn't turn my head well.