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Whiplash Injury


  • Sudden quick movement of the neck
  • Heavy lifting
  • Poor posture
  • Severe lower neck pain
  • Inability to move the neck
  • Pain felt most in the morning
  • Pain may spread to the shoulder and arm
  • Headaches
  • RICE method
  • Rest
  • Physiotherapy
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Maintaining good posture

What is Whiplash?

When a patient suffers whiplash they are likely to feel severe pain in the lower neck and top of the at the point of injury. This pain will usually accelerate when activity is resumed and can spread to the shoulders, arms and head and is likely to feel stiff after periods of rest. Patients with whiplash are also likely to suffer headaches, numbness and an inability to move the neck without pain.

Whiplash Diagnosis

In order to diagnose wry neck, a doctor or physiotherapist will give an examination of the area. Sometimes an X-ray or CT scan will be undergone in order to confirm the diagnosis, and also to rule out any further complications. It is critical that whiplash get’s diagnosed properly before any treatments are undergone to ensure the injury hasn’t been mistaken for a more serious spinal injury.

Whiplash Treatment

In order to treat whiplash, rest is crucial to allow the injury time to heal and to prevent any further activity which could cause damage or cause discomfort to the injury. Applying ice to the injury is an important aspect of healing as it will reduce any swelling and inflammation as well as providing cooling pain relief to the injury. Using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is beneficial for the first 72 hours of the injury occurring as it will reduce swelling, restrict blood flow and prevent further inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications can also be taken in order to reduce swelling as well as relieving pain or achiness from the injury. When the injury has begun healing and you are advised by a physiotherapist or doctor, it is important for the patient to undergo a rehabilitation program such as strengthening and stretching exercises which will keep the area strong and make it easier to return to sports once the injury has fully recovered. These exercises should not be carried out if the patient feels pain in the area and the advice of a physiotherapist should always be sought in order to obtain an exercise regime suitable for the individual. Maintaining a good posture is key to reducing the amount of stress out on the neck. Patients may find it beneficial to re-evaluate their back posture or use a postural brace to correct any poor posture issues which may be putting added pressure on the neck.