Whiplash Injuries

What is a Whiplash Injury?

A whiplash injury is a neck injury caused by forceful, rapid back and forth movement like a whip cracking. It is most commonly caused by rear-end or side-impact motor vehicle collisions. However it can also be a result from other types of impacts such as falling from a height or sports accidents. There are many injuries associated with whiplash known as Whiplash-Associated Disorders.

Characteristics/ clinical presentation

Whiplash-associated disorders are complex conditions with varied disturbances and symptoms. There can be disturbances in motor, sensorimotor, and sensory functions and can cause psychological distress. The most common symptoms are neck pain and back pain that is either constant or motion-induced. There can be up to 48 hrs delay of symptom onset from the initial injury.

Whiplash symptoms

Neck pain – tenderness and discomfort
Jaw pain
Pain that radiates to the shoulders and arms
Pain in the lower back
Muscle spasm
Numbness or weakness in arms, legs or shoulders
A pin and needles sensation
Dizziness or disorientation
Loss in concentration
Memory loss

Clinical Diagnosis

When diagnosing whiplash related injuries, the mechanism of injury is essential.

Acute whiplash – an acute whiplash injury follows sudden or excessive hyperflexion, or rotation of the neck and causes neck pain and other symptoms.

Chronic Whiplash – is characterized by symptoms lasting for more than 3 months.


A whiplash injury often gets better by its self after a few weeks or months or after some simple treatment. However sometimes it can cause severe and troublesome symptoms that last a long time.

After whiplash keeping your neck mobile is most important. Your neck may be painful at first, but keeping it mobile will improve its movements and speed up recovery. Any pain you experience when moving your neck is normal and won’t lead to further damage.

It is recommended that you carry on with your daily tasks and not to use a neck brace or collar.

Ice packs, a warm compress, ensuring good posture and a supportive pillow when sleeping are all measures you can take to help reduce your pain and pain recovery.

Physiotherapy may be recommended if your symptoms continue.

A physiotherapist may use a range of physical techniques to help improve your symptoms such as neck exercises, massage and gentle manipulation of your neck.

Whiplash that lasts longer than six months is known as chronic whiplash. If you have long-term pain, ask your GP about a referral to a NHS pain clinic for further help.


Here at Comfort Health

At Comfort Health we offer a range of treatments from sports massage, physiotherapy and acupuncture, along with a variety of other services which could help if you’re suffering from a whiplash injury.

If you feel like you could benefit from a treatment from one of our practitioners –  Click Here and book in today.