Whiplash injury is a type of neck injury caused by sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways.
It occurs when the soft tissues in the neck become stretched and damaged (sprained) .
Whiplash will often get better within a few weeks or months, but for some people it can last longer and severely limit their activities.
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Common symptoms of whiplash include:
Less common symptoms include pins and needles in your arms and hands, dizziness , tiredness, memory loss , poor concentration and irritability.
It can take several hours for the symptoms to develop after you injure your neck. The symptoms are often worse the day after the injury, and may continue to get worse for several days.
Visit your GP if you've recently been involved in a road accident, or you've had a sudden impact to your head and you have pain and stiffness in your neck.
They'll ask how the injury happened andabout your symptoms. They may also examine your neck for muscle spasms and tenderness, and may assess the range of movement in your neck.
Scans and tests such as X-rays will usually only be carried out if a broken bone or other problem is suspected.
Whiplash can occur if the head is thrown forwards, backwards or sideways violently.
Common causes of whiplash include:
Whiplashwillusually get better on its own or after some basic treatment.
Treatments for whiplash include:
If your pain lasts a long time, you may be referred for specialist treatment and support at an NHS pain clinic .
Painkilling injections and surgery aren'tnormally used for whiplash.
It may also cause problems at work and could lead to anxiety or depression .
Try to remain positive and focus on your treatment objectives. But if you do feel depressed, speak to your GP about appropriate treatment and support.