What is Whiplash Injury (Neck Strain)?


Whiplash is an injury occurring due to forcibly bending of the neck forward or backward / due to sudden neck strain

Causes of Whiplash Injury

Major causes of whiplash injury are:

  • Road traffic accidents – most common in rear collisions
  • Sports Injury
  • Fall
  • Amusement park rides
  • Physical abuse
  • Adventure Sports

What are the symptoms of Whiplash Injury?

Symptoms for a whiplash injury may take 24hrs to a few days to appear

The most common symptoms of whiplash injury are:

  • Whiplash neck pain
  • Neck Stiffness
  • Dizziness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Arm pain

Diagnosis of Whiplash – How is it done?

  • Complete history and examination of the affected area in detail by the doctor
  • X-ray to rule out any fractures
  • In whiplash injury most frequently involved are the muscles/tendons, for best visualization of these imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) / Computerized Tomography (CT) Scans are considered as the choice of investigation of choice

Complications of Whiplash (Neck Strain)?

Whiplash Injury is curable, most of the people diagnosed with whiplash recover within a few weeks to months, in a few cases the pain may stay for longer

Whiplash Treatment

After being diagnosed with whiplash injury, Multiple factors are kept into consideration before starting the treatment by the doctors such as the age of the patient, severity of the injury, range of motion of the affected part, tenderness, reflexes

The main aim of the treatment is to ensure that patient’s pain is reduced and with time normal range of movements of the affected part is achieved and the person is able to lead a normal life

  • Rest - is the most important part of treatment as the lesser the patient will put a strain on the affected area better will it heal
  • Hot/Cold Pack application - Hot/Cold pack depending upon the severity & time passed since the injury, 15-20 minutes of cold/hot pack application every day at an interval of 3-4 hours will help in reducing the inflammation of the affected area and speed up the recovery process
  • Neck Collar - To support & restrict the movement of the affected area foam collar will be required and will also help in reducing the pain
  • Medications - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen will help in reducing whiplash pain
  • Muscle Relaxants & Injectables - In severe cases of pain & injury muscle relaxants & steroid injections may be prescribed by the doctor
  • Physiotherapy - With the decrease in pain to improve the mobility and strength of the affected part physiotherapy will be required such as rotational exercises, laser therapy such as TENS (Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) may be required.


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