Skip to main content

FAQs on Whiplash and Treatment


What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the neck that mostly occurs due to an acceleration or deceleration force that leads to unrestrained, forward and backward movement of the neck and head. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of whiplash, specifically a rear end collision. As a result of the accident, the intervertebral joints (found between the vertebrae), cervical muscles, discs and ligaments, and nerve roots may become damaged.

Normally, whiplash is not considered a life-threateninginjury, butit may resultinprolongedperiods of pain. Whilemany of thoseinvolved in minorcaraccidentsrecoverquitequickly without complications, some may continueexperiencingsymptomsforsomeyears after theinjury. In fact, 15% of whiplash ends up in chronic neck pain if not treated urgently.

What are the Causes of Whiplash?

The main cause of whiplash is motor vehicle accidents. It mostly occurs when the person who is in the stopped car is struck by another vehicle from behind. During the collision, the neck muscles are usually relaxed, the impact jerks the neck back and forth as the seat pushes the person forward, exceeding the standard motion of the neck. This form of movement leaves a severe strain on the neck muscles which results in pain, spasms and headaches.

For those in sports and athletics, they may experience whiplash symptoms as a result of the impact from other players. Research have shown that women are more likely to experience whiplash as compared to men. The thought process is that female anatomy makes the neck more prone to whiplash.

Additional causes of whiplash include amusement park rides and trauma, such as a fight.

What are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

The most common symptoms associated with whiplash may be delayed for approximately 24 hours or more once the initial trauma occurs. The neck pain may be accompanied by burning, spasms and stiffness. Other symptoms may include;

  • Blurry vision
  • Headachesmostly along thebase of theskull
  • Lowbackpain
  • Painornumbness in thearm/hand
  • Dizziness
  • Difficultyconcentrating
  • Irritation, fatigueandsleepdisturbances

In severe cases of whiplash, the patient may experience a ringing sensation in the ears, irritability, and difficulty focusing and remembering small things. In the event of memory loss, it means that the symptoms are severe. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention urgently.

How is Whiplash Diagnosed?

The importance of a diagnostic test is to rule out other problems associated with whiplash. After an accident, the patient is taken to the hospital, and the doctor will examine the patient to determine if there are any injuries that need treatment. The tests will include X-rays to identify the specific areas where there is a fracture, dislocation or any other problem. A CT scan can be performed to delineate bony damage. The most important thing is to ensure that there is no major injury to the head, neck, or the rest of the body which may require immediate treatment.

What are the Treatment Options for Whiplash?

The treatment options for whiplash depends on the wide variety of the symptoms present. It typically involves a combination of different treatment options such as injections, medications, spinal manipulations, physical therapy and strengthening exercises. Medication options may include muscle relaxers, short term narcotics, anti-inflammatories and topical creams.

Interventional treatment options may include facet injections, trigger point injections, and medial branch blocks.

Thankfully, the vast majority of patients suffering from whiplash achieve tremendous relief with nonoperative treatment. Call Gershon Pain Specialists today for top relief! 

Thankfully, the vast majority of patients suffering from whiplash achieve tremendous relief with nonoperative treatment. Call Gershon Pain Specialists today for top relief!


Gershon Pain Specialists
1133 First Colonial Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Phone: 757-496-2050
Fax: 757-689-4357

Office Hours

Get in touch