What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury that occurs after a sudden forceful movement to the neck. Most cases of whiplash occur during a motor vehicle accident, often from a rear-end collision. Whiplash is a complex musculoskeletal injury that involves muscles, joints, and ligaments.

Diagnosis

Whiplash is a diagnosis of exclusion. That means the diagnosis is made when all other injuries have been eliminated. Imaging and physical diagnosis may not show a definite diagnosis; however, it is important to perform a thorough examination so these other conditions can be excluded.

Treatment

There is no surgical treatment for whiplash. Patients may find relief from several nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, bracing with a soft collar, medication, trigger point injections, and chiropractic care. Above all, the most important treatment is patience and allowing time for the soft tissue damage in the neck to heal.

There are many nonsurgical therapies, and it is important to find a provider you can trust. There is good evidence that prolonged rest and immobilization are not helpful (Reference: [1]).

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