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Do you know your diagnosis?
Whiplash is a common term for a sprain or strain of the muscles in the neck. This occurs when there is a sudden flexion (forward movement) and extension (backward movement) of the neck. Common causes of whiplash injury are:
  • Car accident (usually rear-ended)
  • High-Impact Sports Injuries
  • Being hit or punched
  • Fall

Whiplash symptoms can occur at the time of the injury, or gradually worsen in the days, weeks or months following the injury. Symptoms of Whiplash include:

  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Upper back pain or stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion (ability to look side to side, or nod yes/no)
  • Shoulder pain

Following an injury, your physician will prescribe an X-ray to rule out a fracture, and set a baseline for comparison if you require treatment in the future. He may also prescribe:

  • Medication: Pain medication or muscle relaxers
  • Physical Therapy
  • Heat or Ice (20 minutes at a time)
  • Massage/Acupuncture
In the majority of cases, the symptoms will resolve themselves within 6 weeks. If the symptoms worsen or persist beyond 6-8 weeks your physician may order additional diagnostic tests such as MRI's to rule out a disc herniation.

We are often asked if Whiplash can cause a disc herniation. Whiplash cannot cause a herniation, but a disc that is already bulging or predisposed to herniation may become herniated at the time of trauma.



not intended as a substitute for medical advise.  Always consult your physician about your medical condidion.
Last modified: March 7th, 2011