Whiplash refers to neck injuries that are caused by hyper extension of the neck and the soft tissue in the spine after the body is thrown in a sudden, unexpected jerk. Most whiplash injuries occur in car crashes where the sudden declaration of the vehicle causes the neck to jolt forward or back. Women are more prone to whiplash injuries compared to men as their neck muscles aren’t as strong.
The symptoms of whiplash are stiffness and pain in the neck, which makes bending the neck very difficult. It can also cause pain and stiffness in the shoulders and down the arms. Many people also experience pain in the lower and upper part of the back. In half of all cases of whiplash, symptoms develop a day after the accident, whereas the other half find the symptoms tend to appear several hours afterwards.
Your general practitioner will be able to diagnose a whiplash injury through a description of how the accident occurred and the symptoms present. Your doctor will also examine your neck and arms to see whether you have damaged your spinal cord or vertebrae. If this is suspected, then you would then go for further tests to see the true extent of your whiplash.
Symptoms often begin to improve after a few days, with the majority of people making a full recovery within two weeks. However, depending on the severity of your whiplash, the symptoms may persist long-term.