Whiplash is a medical condition where the soft tissues of the neck have been injured after a sudden jerking of the head, which results in a strain on the muscles and ligaments of the neck, causing a sprain type injury. Whiplash is a description of the movement that causes injury but has become synonymous with the soft tissue injury which occurs.
Symptoms reported by sufferers include: pain and aching to the neck and back, referred pain to the shoulders, sensory disturbance (such as pins and needles) to the arms & legs and headaches. Symptoms can appear directly after the injury, but often are not felt until days afterwards. Patients can also report of ringing or whistling in the ear, headache, deafness, jaw joint pain and difficulty in swallowing.
Diagnosis of a whiplash injury is not difficult for a trained doctor. It’s mainly based on history and examination, but sometimes need radiological evidence.
Treatment of individuals with whiplash may include pain medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and a cervical collar. Range of motion exercises, physical therapy, and cervical traction may also be prescribed. Acupuncture and supplemental heat application may relieve muscle tension.