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Whiplash is a neck injury caused when your head is forcefully thrust back and forth, causing soft tissues injuries in the neck and neck pain. It is often associated with car accidents but can result from a sports injury, a fall or physical abuse.

Many intricate, long-lasting complications are caused in the neck and spine area due to whiplash, so it is essential to seek medical attention and the correct treatment as soon as possible. In this way chronic neck pain and chronic whiplash associated disorders can be avoided.

Diagram of how whiplash occurs in the neck.

Top facts about whiplash

  • The top cause of whiplash injuries is car accidents or, to be more specific, being rear-ended!

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be going very fast at all; in fact, most “shunt” accidents are when you and the car behind are coming to a stop. You can be going as little as 5 miles an hour to sustain a whiplash injury.

  • The second leading cause of whiplash injuries is sporting activities

High contact sporting activities can cause a whiplash injury, including rugby, boxing, and wrestling.

  • You may not feel the pain straight away.

Most people experience “impact” pain and then nothing for days or even weeks. Whiplash is typically not a life-threatening injury, BUT it is always important to get checked out straight after an accident to prevent further damage.

  • Age is a factor

As with most musculoskeletal ailments, age plays a massive part in injury and recovery. Unfortunately, the older you are, the harder it is to recover and the more vulnerable we are.

  • It’s not all in the neck.

Whiplash doesn’t just affect your neck; in fact, 50% of whiplash victims will suffer shoulder and upper back pain as well as headaches, fatigue and impaired concentration. As a knock-on effect, some people also suffer disturbed sleep and anxiety.

  • Don’t brace yourself.

Most people believe popping on a neck brace or support collar will help recovery when in fact, you’d be making it much worse.

What should you do if you have whiplash?

First things first, you must get yourself checked out. A medical professional will assist you in the diagnosis and check you over for any further, more sinister damage.

Once you have the all-clear, you need to consider recovery.

Pain medication, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxant prescriptions may be given by your GP or at the hospital.

Physiotherapy for whiplash.

You will need to see a physiotherapist who will aid you in a recovery plan that will include range motion exercises you can perform at home as well as soft tissue treatment. The aim is to relieve the pain symptoms and restore normal movement, getting you back to the activities you love. We’re experts at whiplash rehabilitation here in London.

For more information on whiplash and assessment appointments, get in touch today.