Whiplash Information

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141 Wexford Bayne Road Wexford,PA 15090 PA, 15090

Whiplash Information

Whiplash is a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly and/or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in motor vehicle accidents, but it can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other incidents. Another important aspect of whiplash is that the signs and symptoms often do not develop until 2 to 48 hours after the injury.

What structures are injured in a whiplash?

Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury. In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Even though it is very rare, vertebrae can be fractured and/or dislocated in a whiplash injury.

What are the common signs and symptoms of whiplash?

The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck. These symptoms are generally found in the areas that are “whiplashed.” Turning the head often makes the pain and discomfort worse.

Headache, especially at the base of the skull, is also a common symptom, seen in more than two thirds of patients. These headaches may be one-sided (unilateral) or experienced on both sides (bilateral). In addition, the pain and stiffness may extend down into the shoulders and arms, upper back, and even the upper chest.

Some patients also experience dizziness, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and even blurred vision, vertigo (the sensation of the room spinning) and ringing in the ears. In addition, some patients may feel pain in the jaw. Others will even complain of irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms also resolve quickly in most cases.


How is whiplash treated?

• Staying active

One of the most important aspects of whiplash management is for the patient to stay active, unless there is some serious injury that requires immobilization.

• Chiropractic Adjustments


Ice and/or heat are often used to help control pain and reduce the muscle spasm that results from whiplash injuries. Other modalities, such as electrical stimulation and/or ultrasound, may provide some short-term relief. They should not, however, replace an active-care program of exercise and stretching. Spinal manipulation and/or mobilization provided by a chiropractor can also give relief in many cases.


Can whiplash be prevented?

Generally speaking, whiplash cannot be “prevented,” but there are some things that you can do while in a motor vehicle that may reduce the chances of a more severe injury. Always wear restraints (lap or shoulder belt), and ensure that the headrest in your vehicle is adjusted to the appropriate height.

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marker141 Wexford Bayne Road
  Wexford, PA 15090