Skip to main content


Everything you need to know

Whiplash is a commonly used phrase but rarely understood. The phrase has been classically coined as involving a rear-end motor vehicle collision when the head abruptly thrusts forward and then backwards much like the motion of a ‘cracking whip’. These intense motions force the neck ligaments and muscles beyond their usual range of motion causing stress and pain.

What are some common symptoms of whiplash?

Whiplash pain is very hard to ignore. Some symptoms of a neck injury may include the following:

  • Pain towards the base of the skull that runs upwards to the forehead
  • Pain when moving your head back and forth or from side to side
  • Tightness, pain, and loss of range of motion
  • Muscles feel slightly knotted or even hard


Sometimes it can take many hours or even days before you start to notice your neck pain after an injury while at times the strain can be immediate.

Concussions can be seen with whiplash-type injuries.  Because a concussion can be quite serious, you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately. If you feel extra sleepy, nauseous, confused, or dizzy, medical emergency care is necessary.

A thorough musculoskeletal and neurologic examination is required.  X-rays and other bone or soft tissue scans may be ordered to properly diagnose and direct appropriate treatment for recovery.

What are some common causes of whiplash?

Whiplash-type strain of the neck may result from any of the following:

Vehicle Crash:
A rear-end collision is the most common reason for neck strain.

Contact Sports:
Tackles in football along with other sports-related impacts can sometimes cause neck strain injuries.

Physical Abuse:
A neck strain injury can result from fighting. It can also happen with being forcibly shaken which can happen in young children and infants known as shaken baby syndrome.

Any jarring force to the head, neck, or body that results in the sudden and often off guarded movement of the neck beyond normal stationary ranges may result in whiplash type injuries.

How is whiplash treated?

Most individuals recover in just a few, short weeks, while others may develop chronic pain after suffering a whiplash injury. A multidisciplinary approach using chiropractic care is often advised. Long-term stretching with the use of heat to aid muscle tension and soreness can be helpful.


Treatment for whiplash or acute neck strain may involve taking over the counter medications, prescription medications such as muscle relaxants, adjunct medications, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories

Physical therapy

Therapy is usually the mainstay for recovery.

Intensive soft tissue work

Therapy is usually the mainstay for recovery.

Epidural injections

Epidural injections are a treatment option that relieves pain that extends from your lower back to your legs or from your cervical spine to your arms. This type of discomfort occurs when your spinal passages narrow, placing pressure on nerves and triggering pain. Traditional corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory agents work to reduce inflammation in the targeted areas ultimately relieving pain.

Whiplash injuries can be considered mild or severe. Generally speaking mild injuries are often described as strains and sprains whereas more serious injuries can involve nerve root or even spinal cord involvement. Depending on the level of severity, early immobilization may be advised such as using a neck brace. The use of over the counter medication may be helpful. Spine physicians look to stabilize whiplash type injuries to alleviate pain and restore normal function. Muscle dysfunction is often targeted and may involve medication, soft tissue manipulation, or even spinal intervention. If you think you have sustained a whiplash injury call Ortho Spine Life now to receive specialized treatment for fast and optimal recovery.

Contact Us