Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury that can include:
- Spraining the neck ligaments
- Straining the neck muscles
- Injury to cervical discs
- Possible nerve injury
|Process Leading to Whiplash|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Whiplash can occur with any sudden, violent, backward jerk of the head or neck.
Factors that may increase your chance of whiplash include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sporting events that include full contact
Symptoms often develop in the hours after the injury although they can develop in the days after the injury.
Symptoms may include:
- Stiff neck
- Neck pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Shoulder pain and stiffness
- Decreased range of neck motion
- Muscle spasms
- Pain, numbness, or tingling extending down an arm
- Unusual fatigue
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Most whiplash injuries do not show up on imaging tests. Your doctor may order some tests to make sure that no other injuries have occurred.
Your doctor may want to take images of the neck to look for further damage. Images may be taken with:
An electromyogram may also be done to test for nerve damage.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include:
- Use an ice pack for the first few days, then switch to a heat pack.
Medications such as:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Prescription pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Move as your able—strict rest may slow recovery
- Physical therapy and exercises
- Joint manipulation of the spine done by a chiropractor or other trained provider
There are no current guidelines for preventing whiplash. It often occurs due to an unexpected event.
- Teresa Briedwell, DPT, OCS
- Reviewed: 05/2014
- Updated: 05/23/2014
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.