Whiplash Injuries

Carol PlumridgeUseful information

Whiplash injury

Man feeling bad after a car accident injury


Whiplash Injuries

  •  75% of car accident insurance claims cite whiplash injury.
  • So what is a whiplash injury?
  • It’s an injury to the neck (Cervical area), which is caused by a forceful movement, which can be forwards, backwards and sideways.
  • The head moves in one direction and the seat belt stops the movement and the head flicks back in the opposite direction.
  • It can be caused by a car accident, a heavy fall or blow to the head.
  • The neck is designed to be flexible and so is easily damaged.
  • A whiplash injury can cause muscular, ligament or tendon damage.
  • Symptoms:

(i): Stiffness or pain in the neck; pain may also radiate into the arms or into the jaw.

(ii): Pain or stiffness in the mid or low back.

(iii): Swelling in the neck.

(iv): Pins and needles in the arms.

  • If you experience any dizziness, visual disturbances, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or headaches it maybe advisable to speak to your GP.

There are no specific sets of symptoms that constitute a whiplash injury. The diagnosis is based on a history of the injury and the examination.

Occasionally an x-ray or scan is required to rule out fracture, spinal cord compression, nerve or head injuries.

Increased risk: You are at increased risk of a whiplash injury if:

  • You are female as your muscle tone is not as strong and your neck may be generally more mobile.
  • You are a young adult who takes part in contact or high risk sports.
  • You have poor posture.
  • You have congenital neck problems.
  • You have a badly fitted head restraint.


  • Days off work.
  • Difficulties with daily activity.
  • Chronic pain syndrome.


  • The symptoms usually recede within days or weeks.
  • It is recommended that you maintain normal activities.
  • Do not wear a collar.
  • Initially use ice and pain relief, either pain relief or anti inflammatories.
  • Maintain a good posture and use a supportive pillow.


  • Keep a good posture.
  • Stretch your neck and spine regularly.
  • Maintain muscle strength and general fitness.


Cervical spine

Cervical Spine