Whiplash – Symptoms, Causes, Treatments


We’ve all heard of whiplash and I’m sure that most reading this know of at least one person who has been affected by whiplash – whether minor or severe. The most important thing if you have been injured in an accident, is to see a medical professional right away in order to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis and receive treatment. But first, people should be aware of what whiplash is, how to spot symptoms and effectively treat.


Whiplash – What is it?

A neck injury that is caused by forceful, rapid back-and-forth movements of the neck

Causes of Whiplash 

  • Automobile Accidents – rear-end collisions are the most common causes of whiplash
  • Physical Abuse or Assault – being punched or shaken
    • most common injury sustained in “shaken baby syndrome”
  • Contact Sports – being tackled while playing football, rugby, etc.

Symptoms & Signs

  • Neck pain and stiffness that usually develops within 24 hours of the incident
  • Worsening pain with movement of the neck
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck and shoulders
  • Headaches that begin at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness


  • Rest
  • Ice or Heat – apply ice or heat for 15 minutes at a time; up to 6 times a day
  • Over-the-counter pain meds – Tylenol, Advil, Motrin IB, etc.
  • Exercise
    • light stretching
    • rotating the neck in both direction
    • tilting the head from side-to-side
    • bending the neck towards the chest
    • rolling the shoulders
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic Therapy

The purpose of getting a correct diagnosis is to begin treatment right away in order to restore your normal range of motion and relieve pain.

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