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Whiplash

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What is Whiplash?
whiplash-conditionsWhiplash-a soft tissue injury to the neck-is also called neck sprain or neck strain. It is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck, usually because of sudden extension and flexion.

Causes

Whiplash occurs when a sudden impact causes the lower cervical vertebrae is forced into a hyperextended position at the same time as the upper cervical vertebrae are being forced into a hyperflexed position.

One of the most common causes is being in an automobile accident that causes injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots.

Symptoms

  • neck pain
  • neck stiffness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling
  • shoulder or back pain
  • memory loss
  • concentration impairment
  • nervousness/irritability
  • sleep disturbances
  • fatigue
  • depression
Treatment

Treatment for individuals with whiplash may include pain medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and a cervical collar (usually worn for 2 to 3 weeks). Range of motion exercises, physical therapy, and cervical traction may also be prescribed. Supplemental heat application may relieve muscle tension.

What is the prognosis?

Generally, prognosis for individuals with whiplash is good. The neck and head pain clears within a few days or weeks. Most patients recover within 3 months after the injury, however, some may continue to have residual neck pain and headaches.

source: National Health Institute