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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 Symptoms

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.

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