Whiplash Neck Injuries

Whiplash Neck Injuries

What is Whiplash injury:

Whiplash injuries refers to the injuries of the neck which are mainly caused by motor vehicle accident. It happened when the neck is suddenly jolted in one direction and then another. Some of the other causes of whiplash injuries are sports activities, fall or other work injuries. It is actually a descriptive term that defines the mechanism of injury. Whiplash injury can be caused by a strong side to side or backward and forward movement of the neck. Usually our neck muscles, ligaments and tendons are strong enough to sustain injuries but not enough to sustain extremely rapid extension followed by immediate excessive flexion of the neck.

Which structures are involved:

Whiplash injuries usually involve a combination of muscles, joints, ligaments and vertebral injuries. Sprain-strain injuries of the neck are common after road traffic accident. Our spinal column and head are supported by ligaments that also protect from excessive movement of the vertebrae. The sprain is caused when these ligaments are torn. The facet joints which are the joints of the vertebrae are covered with facet capsules that are common sites of whiplash injuries. Whiplash injuries also affect associated tendons and muscles. Disc herniation and vertebral fracture may also occur in case of severe strain.

Signs and Symptoms of whiplash injury:

Pain and stiffness in the neck are the most common symptoms of whiplash injury. The pain and discomfort worsen with the movement of the neck. Two third of the people also experience severe headache. The headache can be one sided or sometimes both regions are involved. You may feel pain and stiffness radiating to shoulder, upper back and the upper chest. Some other reported symptoms are dizziness, vertigo (a sensation of spinning), nausea, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), fatigue, irritability, jaw pain, low back pain and a blurry vision. These additional symptoms usually relieve within a few days. Lower back pain is caused by rapid bending or twisting in the restraint seat belt.  Consult your chiropractic doctor if the symptoms persist for a long time. Most of the patients reported that the symptoms and signs of the whiplash injury appear within 2 to 48 hours. The symptoms usually depends on the direction of the impact, sex and age, speed of the vehicle and physical condition.

Chiropractic treatment of the whiplash injuries:

Chiropractic treatment has proven to be a great source of relief for many patients. Your chiropractor may offer a number of treatment modalities that will help you to relieve pain. The most important technique used by chiropractors is spinal adjustment and manipulation of the spine. It helps to reduce the inflammation and irritation of the nerves. Other chiropractic treatment options are application of ice on the specific area, deep tissue massage, deep tissue laser therapy, structural correction, electrical stimulation, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises of the back.


  1. So whiplash symptoms also cover headaches? I was wondering if that was something separate from the pain in my neck. At least I don’t have vertigo or nausea, too. Those would make functioning very difficult for me.

    • Yes, Betty you could definitely experience headaches as a result of whiplash related injuries. There are a variety of factors that play into a car accident but headaches are very common following accidents.


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