Whiplash most commonly occurs in motor vehicle accidents, and results when
your head snaps backward, then forward in rapid succession.
Causes of Whiplash
About 20 percent of people involved in rear-end collisions later experience
symptoms that center in the neck region. Although most of these people
recover quickly, a small number develop chronic conditions that result
in severe pain and sometimes disability.
Whiplash sufferers usually experience symptoms within the first two days
after the accident. Symptoms can include neck pain and stiffness, headaches,
pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades, pain or numbness
in the arm and/or hand, dizziness and ringing in the ears or blurred vision.
Treatment for Whiplash
In the past, whiplash injuries were often treated with immobilization in
a cervical collar. However, the current trend is to encourage early movement,
rather than immobilization. The soft collar may be used for a short term
and on an intermittent basis. Ice may be applied for the first 24 hours,
followed by gentle active movement. Your doctor may provide you with a
series of exercises that you can do at home. No single treatment has been
scientifically proven as effective, but pain relieving medications, exercises,
physical therapy, traction, massage, heat, ice, injections and ultrasound
have all been beneficial for some patients.