Close look on whiplash

Whiplash is a common injury that arises if the neck was subjected to abrupt acceleration-deceleration force. The head and neck is spontaneously and rapidly driven forward and backward, usually in vehicular accidents. The movement results to damage to both the soft tissues and bony structures.

What are the indications?

The usual indications associated to a whiplash injury might include:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain and rigidity
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

    The head and neck is spontaneously and rapidly driven forward and backward, usually in vehicular accidents.

  • Shoulder stiffness and discomfort
  • Arm pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Visual disturbances
  • Weakness of the arms
  • Back pain
  • Ringing in the ears or tinnitus

In severe and chronic cases of whiplash injury, other symptoms might be present such as:

  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Stress
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Drug dependency
  • Post-traumatic stress syndrome

How is whiplash managed?

The treatment for whiplash is based on the symptoms that might arise. A vital issue in the treatment for the injury is optimal education about the injury. The individual should be properly informed of the cause, possible treatment options and likely outcomes.

Engaging in early range of motion exercises is considered effective in promoting the improvement of the symptoms. This usually includes rotational exercises that must be done 10 times every hour as soon as the symptoms allow during the initial 4 hours after the injury.

In addition, physical therapy is also beneficial in helping wean the individual from a cervical collar as well as strengthen the muscles and lessen sore movements.

In case psychological symptoms including anxiety, anger or depression arises after an injury, immediate treatment of the emotional condition is essential. This will help the individual fully understand the good chances of recovery and lessen the possibility for any chronic symptoms to develop.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on whiplash is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the indications of this injury, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.


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