Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. Whiplash Injury most often occurs during a rear-end auto accident, but the injury can also result from a sports accident, physical abuse or other trauma.
Common signs and symptoms of whiplash injury include neck pain, stiffness and headaches. Most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan that includes pain management medication and exercise. However, some people have chronic neck pain and other long-lasting complications.
Whiplash may be called a neck sprain or strain, but these terms also include other types of neck injuries. Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually, but not always, develop within 24 hours of the injury and may include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms