This is a generic term used to describe an injury to the neck caused by a sudden and violent movement in one direction then the other way. This occurs most often in car crashes, sports or work injuries, and falls. The injury is a result of a strain/sprain of the neck. A sprain is where the ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn. In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained- stretched beyond normal limits.
Common signs/symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck, and the pain may be felt in the shoulders, arms, upper back, and upper chest. Turning the head often makes the pain and discomfort worse. Headaches at the base of the skull occur in most whiplash victims. Symptoms often do not develop until 2-48 hours after the injury.
Whiplash is treated with chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy. Ice, and/or heat can help control pain and reduce muscle spasm. Spinal manipulation and/or mobilization by a chiropractor can give relief in many cases of neck pain. Electrical stimulation and/or ultrasound can provide pain relief.