Whiplash – A Real Pain in the Neck

Whiplash is a neck injury caused by the sudden, forceful, movement of the head and neck. Often times it is caused by a rear end car accident but can also be caused by other forms of trauma like a sports related accident, shaking a baby forcefully,  or if one person hits another in the head.

Signs and symptoms of whiplash sometimes don’t show up right away. It may take a day or two for some or all of the following symptoms to appear:

• Neck pain and stiffness
• Limitation of neck range of motion
• Headache
• Shoulder and back pain
• Tingling in the arms
• Dizziness
• Feeling tired
• Blurred vision

A complete examination by a physician will include checking range of motion of the neck and shoulders, tenderness in the shoulders, neck and back, checking reflexes and muscle strength in the arms. The exam will also probably include an x-ray, and a CT scan or MRI of the upper part of the body.

Treatment for whiplash depends on severity as each case is different. It includes rest, immobilization of the neck with a foam collar, pain management with medication, ice or heat to the affected area, muscle relaxants, or physical therapy. It can take weeks or months for the symptoms to subside. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.