Whiplash occurs when the neck and head are suddenly forced backward and then forward, putting your spine through extreme stress. Most cases of whiplash are caused by car accidents though bungee jumping, rollercoaster rides and skiing can also cause whiplash.

Overview and Symptoms

Common symptom include mild to excruciating neck pain, stiffness or reduced range of neck movement, shoulder and/or upper back pain, or headache. There could also be tingling, weakness or numbness from the shoulder down through the arm.

Whiplash is diagnosed if a patient reports neck pain after an accident or other trauma.

Your physician will review your medical history, do a thorough physical exam and order an X-ray or MRI if a fracture or a neurological problem is suspected.


Your physician will ask you to rest and take things easy for the first few days. Applying an ice pack can prevent further swelling of the neck. Ice or heat can also help reduced pain.

Your physician may also suggest over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications

Learn More

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