What is Whiplash Injury
is Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash - a soft tissue injury to the neck - is also called neck sprain
or strain. It is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur
following the damage to the area, usually because of sudden extension and
disorder commonly occurs as the result of an automobile accident and may
include injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical
muscles, and nerve roots.
such as neck pain may be present directly after the injury or may be
delayed for several days.
addition to pain, other symptoms may include neck stiffness, injuries to
the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries), headache, dizziness,
abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling (paresthesias), or
shoulder or back pain.
addition, some people experience cognitive, somatic, or psychological
conditions such as memory loss, concentration impairment,
nervousness/irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, or depression.
Is there any treatment?
for individuals with whiplash may include pain medications, nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and a cervical
collar (usually worn for 2 to 3 weeks).
of motion exercises, physical therapy, and cervical traction may also be
Supplemental heat application may relieve muscle tension.
What is the prognosis?
prognosis for individuals with whiplash is good.
The neck and head pain clears within a few days or weeks. Most patients
recover within 3 months after the injury, however, some may continue to
have residual neck pain and headaches.
What research is being done?
NINDS conducts and supports research on trauma-related disorders such as
whiplash. Much of this research focuses on increasing scientific
understanding of these disorders and finding ways to prevent and treat
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only
and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position
of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any
other Federal agency.
on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained
through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is
familiar with that patient's medical history.
American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA)
P.O. Box 850
Rocklin, CA 95677-0850
Tel: 916-632-0922 800-533-3231
National Chronic Pain Outreach Association (NCPOA)
P.O. Box 274
Millboro, VA 24460
author of Whiplash Injury to the neck is Anthony George
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