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What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck, usually caused by a sudden forceful jerk commonly occurring because of an automobile accident, sports injuries or an accidental fall. Headache may develop immediately or after a short period of time after the injury. Sometimes, whiplash may also be referred to as neck strain, neck sprain or hyperextension injury.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Neck pain, stiffness in the neck and headache are the most common symptoms of whiplash. Other symptoms may include dizziness, tingling or prickling sensation in the upper extremities, shoulder pain and stiffness, and psychological conditions such as memory loss, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. 

Diagnosis of Whiplash

Diagnosis depends on the history of the injury and your symptoms. An X-ray of your neck may be taken to make sure there are no fractures or dislocation of the cervical spine. 

Treatment of Whiplash

Pain medications, muscle relaxants, bed rest, cervical collar, neck exercises, ice therapy, heat therapy, and physical therapy have been recommended for the management of your symptoms.

Bed rest and a soft cervical collar may also be suggested to immobilize the neck and allow rest. This usually results in minimal benefit, and hence early initiation of simple exercises is advised to restore flexibility. 

Physical therapy can be useful to help strengthen the muscles and reduce pain.

Prevention of Whiplash

To avoid this injury always wear your seat belt and adjust your headrest to a proper height while driving.