Whiplash is a term used to describe a neck injury caused by a sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways. It is often as a result of a car accident, as the head/ neck may jerk causing injury to the surrounding structures including the ligaments, muscles, nerves, connective tissue…
I recently saw a patient who appeared to have a whiplash injury however this was due to her young son jumping up on her from behind causing her neck to jerk.
The common symptoms of whiplash injury include pain in the neck, which could radiate down the spine, arms or even cause headaches, reduced neck movements, and tenderness in the surrounding region.
My advice would be to keep trying to move your neck, whilst taking the appropriate painkillers if required. People tend to make the mistake of not wanting to take painkillers because they believe it may be masking the pain. My opinion is that if you are not moving your neck because of the pain, then take them to help with movement otherwise you can develop a chronic stiff neck and chronic pain! Seeking advice from the GP is always recommended if you feel you need strong painkillers.
Written by Hily Perpinyal, Chartered Physiotherapist