Whiplash is a common ailment you might experience in the wake of a sudden fall or car accident. It’s a type of injury that occurs when your neck suffers from a rapid back-and-forth movement, similar to if you cracked a whip. As mentioned, whiplash tends to be a result of car accidents that involve being rear-ended, but it can also happen due to specific accidents, and other traumas.

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Whiplash can be easily mistaken for a common neck injury or more generic neck pain. This is because neck injuries – including whiplash – seem to have very similar symptoms. These symptoms include: - Increased pain when moving your neck - Neck stiffness and pain - Inability to move your neck - Headaches - Pain and/or numbness in the arms, upper back, or shoulder

These symptoms can appear within days of the initial injury, but with whiplash, you might also suffer from:

  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Tinnitus
  • Memory problems and depression
  • Irritability, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping
  • Blurred vision

Even if you’ve not suffered an injury, if you suffer from any of these symptoms, you should contact a medical professional. You should get an immediate and accurate diagnosis to treat the underlying injury. Failure to do so can increase the problem and make the symptoms worse.

Causes and Risk Factors

Whiplash tends to happen when your head is thrown backward and forward in a quick and sudden movement. This motion can cause injury to the discs between the bones in your spine, the bones in your spine, nerves, tissue, ligaments, and muscles in your neck. Common incidents that result in whiplash are being rear-ended (the most common cause), contact sports such as football (which includes tackles), and other traumas.

If you have had whiplash before, if you already have pain in your back or neck, if you are older, or if you have suffered from a high-speed injury, then you are more likely to end up with whiplash.

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For most patients, whiplash is a treatable injury and patients may expect a full recovery, following a doctor-recommended treatment plan. Our doctors may recommend over the counter medications, pain management treatments, physical therapy, and more in an attempt to prevent chronic neck pain.


Whiplash is unfortunately a common problem and many people can relate to the neck pain they may have experienced from a motor vehicle accident. Treatments are available, however, and patients need only call our team at The Orthopedic Health Center for a consultation. Let us help you start feeling better and find the neck pain relief you seek!

Additional Resources

Whiplash- Mayo Clinic

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