What is Whiplash & is it Serious?

“Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. It is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents, but can also result from sports accidents, physical abuse & other traumas, such as a fall. Most people who get whiplash feel better within a few weeks & don’t seem to have any lasting effects. However, some continue to experience pain for several months, or even years, after the injury occurred” [1]. – This naturally generates other unwelcome issues, so the sooner you receive a proper diagnosis & treatment from a Pain Specialist, the better…

Putting a Spotlight on the Issues & Causes of Whiplash

When the head is forcefully thrown backwards and forwards in a rapid manner, the unnatural motion can cause a number of issues. These include injury to: the spinal bones, spinal disks (which are situated in-between the vertebrae), muscles, ligaments, and other tissues in the neck.

Whiplash can result from:
•Car accidents: Rear-end collisions are a primary cause of whiplash
•Contact sports: Tackles on the football/rugby pitch, and other sports-related collisions, may generate whiplash
•Physical assault or abuse: Whiplash can occur if someone is shaken or punched. (A sad example of this is in shaken baby syndrome).

Whiplash Symptoms to Look Out For

Generally speaking, signs and symptoms of whiplash come to the fore within days of the injury. These include:

•Stiffness and neck pain
•Worsening pain upon moving the neck
•Reduced range of motion in the neck
•Pain or tenderness in the arms, upper back, or shoulder
•Numbness or tingling in the arms
•Headaches that normally begin at the base of the skull
•Blurry vision

When Should I Book a Consultation With a Pain Specialist?

“It’s important to get a prompt & accurate diagnosis, & to rule out broken bones or other damage that can cause or worsen symptoms” [1]

Although a large percentage of individuals who acquire whiplash, visit a Pain Specialist who gives them specific medication and exercises (according to their Personalised Treatment Plan). – A plan which often ameliorates and heals their condition within a matter of weeks; there are, nonetheless, those who suffer long-term neck pain, and other chronic complications, that can go on for years.

To that end, the best course of action is to book an appointment with a Pain Consultant as soon as you experience any neck pain or other whiplash symptoms (after you have suffered a car accident, sports injury, or other traumatic injury).


Mayo Clinic (2022). “Whiplash.”