Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Whiplash is a common type of neck injury. It occurs to a person's neck most commonly following a motor vehicle accident. The term "whiplash" was introduced  in 1928. The term "whiplash injury" indicates damage the bone structures and soft tissues of the neck, where as the term "whiplash associated disorders" is used to indicate severe and chronic neck condition. Although whiplash is not a life threatening injury, it can cause a prolonged period of partial disability


Causes of whiplash are
  • Contact sport injuries
  • Blow to the head by a falling object or in an assault.
  • Repeated stress injury or chronic strain on the neck like using neck to hold the phone
  • Child abuse, like shaking a child, can cause this type of injury as well as in more serious injuries to the child's brain or spinal cord.

The common symptoms of whiplash include
  • Neck pain
  • Swelling of neck
  • Tenderness along the back of neck
  • Muscle spasms on the side or back of neck
  • Difficulty moving neck 
  • Headache
  • Pain shooting from neck to the shoulder or arm


  • Muscle relaxing medications like carisoprodol, chlorzoxazone, methocarbamol, diazepam ease muscle spasm and can relieve pain, but these medications can make a patient drowsy.

  • Physical therapy: This helps to wean a patient from a cervical collar, strengthens muscles and reduces pain on movement of neck.

  • Ice therapy or Heat therapy: In case of minor injury ice therapy or heat application can help to ease pain

  • Cervical collar: Soft cervical collar is often given in the initial treatment for whiplash. The collar helps to rest the neck, reduces the range of motion of the neck and prevents any additional injuries. However prolonged rest is avoided as this actually slows the healing process.

  • Home remedies

    Home care aims to reduce your pain and minimize the amount of inflammation in the soft tissues of the neck. Home remedies which help to reduce pain are:
    • Apply ice pack to the neck for 20 minutes at a time, if possible every hour for the first 24 hours when you are awake. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin. Wrap the ice in a towel and apply on the neck.
    • Mild analgesics like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken for pain relief.

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