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What Is a Whiplash Injury?

Everything you need to know about laryngeal injury.
A whiplash injury occurs when the neck and head suddenly move back and forth with great force, exposing the cervical spine to rapid movements and intense pressure.

Whiplash injury is also medically known as cervical acceleration-deceleration / CAD syndrome. Most whiplash injuries are caused by car accidents in which another car hits a person in the back. Other possible causes of neck whip injuries include seizures and sports injuries such as soccer and falls. In contrast, skiing, equestrian competitions, and other high-intensity activities may apply severe accelerating and decelerating forces to the cervical spine. To be, although these causes are relatively rare.

Whiplash Injury

Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury

Symptoms of a whiplash injury can be widespread.
Neck pain is the most common symptom of a whiplash injury that can range from mild pain to tingling and even severe pain. Other symptoms may include neck cramps or decreased range of motion, neck instability, shoulder and/or upper back pain, or headaches. There may also be tingling, weakness, or general numbness in the shoulder and/or upper limbs.

Symptoms of a whiplash injury can be multiple, complex, long-lasting, and difficult to diagnose, which is why they are commonly known as whiplash-associated disorders.

If a whiplash injury reduces a person’s physical or mental abilities – even temporary – it may increase social isolation.

Biomechanics of Whiplash Injuries

The process of whiplash injury that occurs in car accidents varies due to many factors, including the angle of impact. The collision usually occurs from behind and leads to a whiplash injury. It can be considered in five general steps:

  1. The car hits from behind, causing the seat to push back. The spine is then exposed to forces that cause it to move abruptly.
  2. The upper body (in contact with the chair) accelerates forward, but the head (which is not yet in contact with the chair) does not. As a result, the normal C-shaped structure of the cervical spine (lordosis curvature) temporarily becomes an abnormal S-shaped structure. Abnormal compressive and shear forces can damage intervertebral discs, fast joints, and other neck structures.
  3. The person’s head hits hard on the back of the chair. At this stage, the soft tissues of the front of the neck are more likely to be damaged because the neck is quickly pulled back.
  4. The head jumps out after hitting the chair and now accelerates forward.
  5. The seat belt rests in place (probably preventing much more severe injury), and the neck bends rapidly as the head flips forward. The soft tissues behind the neck are more likely to be damaged at this stage.

Although the severity of a car accident is usually related to the severity of the injury from a whiplash injury, there are exceptions. Sometimes a machine does not crumble tightly and therefore does not show any significant damage on the outside. Still, forces that are not absorbed by the car outside are transmitted through the seat, resulting in a neck whip injury. Whiplash injuries have also been reported in cases where impact speed was less than 16 kilometres per hour (10 miles per hour).

Whiplash Injury

The Period of Pain Caused by a Whiplash Injury

Most people with a whiplash injury recover completely within three months, but some studies show that a significant number of them will have chronic pain or other symptoms that last longer – sometimes up to years.

Factors that increase the risk of having a long recovery period from a whiplash injury include:

  • Severe pain at the time of injury
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • High age
  • Female gender

Symptoms of a whiplash injury may either appear at the time of onset or may be delayed for up to 24 hours and then reappear.

When Is a Whiplash Injury Serious?

Anyone who experiences physical symptoms after a motor vehicle accident is advised to see a doctor for an examination. However, any of the following symptoms require immediate medical attention:

  • Severe pain
  • Neck instability
  • Pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness spread to the shoulders, arms, and/or hands.
  • Balance problems
  • Mental health problems; Such as increased irritability, depression, difficulty sleeping, decreased concentration, or other severe behavioural changes

It is recommended that you seek early treatment for whiplash injuries. Delay in treatment in some cases can reduce its effectiveness.

Diagnosis of Laryngeal Injury

While today’s medical community better understands and accepts the complex and multifaceted nature of whiplash-related disorders, the exact medical evidence for all current symptoms of the disease – whether physical or mental – is still shrouded in mystery.

The following steps are performed when a patient sees a doctor because of neck pain symptoms – possibly related to a whiplash injury -:

  • Complete patient history
  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic imaging (only if a fracture or nerve problem is suspected)


Whiplash Injury

Common Symptoms of Whiplash Injury

  1. Neck Pain
    Neck pain is usually caused by a sprained ligament or muscle strain but can also be caused by damage to the discs, nerves, joints, and/or bones. This pain can range from mild to severe. It may be located at one point or in a general area, extending from the shoulder into the upper limbs and/or hands.
  2. Neck cramps. or reduced range of motion in the neck. Decreased neck mobility can be caused by pain, muscle stiffness, or mechanical problems such as joint problems.
  3. Headache
    Tightening the neck muscle or stimulation of a nerve or joint in the cervical spine can cause headaches.
  4. Neck instability
    This sign of a whiplash injury is usually caused by a stretch or rupture of soft tissues such as ligaments. However, it can also be caused by a fracture.
  5. Shoulder or upper back pain
    Suppose soft tissues in the neck, such as muscles or ligaments, rupture or stretch during a whiplash injury to the neck; the resulting pain can sometimes be referred to other soft tissues in the upper back and shoulders.
  6. Published tingling, weakness, or numbness

Sometimes a whiplash injury to the neck can compress or inflame one of the nerve roots in the cervical spine, leading to symptoms of tingling, weakness, and/or numbness – caused by cervical radiculopathy – in the shoulder arm. , Hands and/or fingers spread. Cervical radiculopathy is usually felt on only one side of the body, but in rare cases, if more than one nerve root is affected, it can be felt on both sides.

Any part of the neck can show up from one symptom to all the other signs of a whiplash injury at the same time. Symptoms can also appear and go away at different times.

Treatment and Recovery of Whiplash Injury

Whiplash injuries in most people lead to mild ligament sprains and/or mild muscle strain that heal in a few days or weeks. However, sometimes the symptoms of a whiplash injury can last for months or even longer. The long-term prognosis for patients with whiplash injuries can be very different and is usually related to the severity of the early symptoms.

If the symptoms of a whiplash injury are mild to moderate, the following self-care options are commonly used:

  • Rest
  • Ice and/or heat. Using ice in the first two days after a whiplash injury can reduce neck pain and swelling.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Some common housing from the OTC group

Medical Care for Whiplash Injuries

If the pain of a whiplash injury or related symptoms is severe and does not seem to go away, you should seek medical attention. A combination of the following treatments can be used:

In addition to the above treatments, anything a person can adopt a healthy lifestyle will generally benefit neck pain. These can include healthy eating, adequate rest (with an ergonomic pillow), good posture, no smoking, and staying active without further neck pain.



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(905) 392 – 7000

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Physiotherapy in Richmond Hill


Our mission is to provide the highest quality preventive and rehabilitation services to help you recover from musculoskeletal and sports-related injuries. The Clinic’s core values include integrity, respect, and professional growth and development dedication. Every patient is given personal attention and a custom solution tailored to their individual needs and goals.
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Physio2Health Clinic offers a wide variety of holistic therapies in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere to maximize your health and well-being. Our friendly, professional, and fully qualified therapist teams are here to help you either seek relief from injury or illness or wish to maintain your health. 

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One Response

  1. Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and informative.

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