WHIPLASH - WatsonsHealth


Whiplash is caused by fast or forceful neck movements. Generally, it occurs due to road or sports accidents or due to other injuries. It is characterized by stiffness, pain in the neck and headaches.

Whiplash will usually get cured by some weeks of treatment with exercises and medications. In some cases, the pain will exist chronically and even cause long-term complications.

Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually — but not always — develop within 24 hours of the injury and may include:

  • Stiffness and pain in the neck
  • Pain gets worse due to neck movements
  • Loss of different movements in the neck
  • Headaches that originate from the bottom of the skull
  • Pain or tenderness in the shoulders, upper part of the back or arms
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Feeling tired
  • Drowsiness or dizziness

Some other symptoms are:

  • Irritability
  • Problems with memory
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Feeling depressed
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision


Diagnosis starts with questions about the injury and physical examination.

Your doctor will touch and analyze the movements of your neck, head and arms

During the exam, your doctor will need to touch and move your head, neck and arms. Your doctor will ask you to do few simple movements in order to identify:

  • Level of motion in your neck, shoulders and arms
  • Motions that results in pain or aggravate pain
  • Tenderness in your neck, shoulders and back
  • Strength, reflexes and sensation in your limbs

Imaging tests

Though imagining tests cannot reveal accurate changes, your doctor can use them to eliminate other conditions that aggravate your neck pain


X-rays of different angles of your neck can help in determining the fractures, arthritis or dislocations.

Computerized tomography (CT)

This is done in case your doctor wants to take a look at the cross-sectional views of the bones and their damages.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Your doctor will identify soft tissue injuries or damages in the spinal cord using MRI scans.



Treatment will be given to alleviate pain, restore normal movements in your neck and be able to perform your daily activities normally.

Treatments will vary from one to another based on your injury and medical history.

Pain relievers like ibuprofen can be given to lessen intermediate whiplash pain. Prescription drugs in combination with antidepressants can control nerve pain.

Muscle relaxants will act on tight muscles and lessen the pain. Lidocaine injection will be administered to patients to reduce the pain during physical therapy.

Exercises and physical therapy sessions will help in restoring the normal motion to the neck and shoulders.

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