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Whiplash

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck. It usually occurs as the result of an automobile accident. Whiplash may include injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots.

Whiplash can occur even in a low-force car crash at speeds as low as 5mph.

Automobile accidents are not the only cause of whiplash. Whiplash can be caused by any activity that causes the head to be pushed or jerked beyond its normal range of motion.

Whiplash is also called neck sprain or neck strain.

What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Sometimes symptoms are not present immediately after an automobile accident. When symptoms do appear, the most common ones are:

  • neck pain
  • neck stiffness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • nausea
  • burning or prickling sensations in the neck
  • shoulder pain
  • back pain
  • ringing in the ears

Some people also experience memory loss, difficulty concentrating, inability to sleep and fatigue.

Treatment options for Whiplash

Treatment options include pain medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, heat application, muscle relaxants, physical therapy and a cervical collar.

Your doctor will determine which treatment is best for you.

How long will it take for whiplash to go away?

Usually the neck and head pain subsides within a few days or weeks. Most people recover within 3 months after experiencing whiplash. Unfortunately, a small number of patients may continue to have residual neck pain and headaches.

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