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Stuart Fossella - Thursday, November 22, 2012 | Comments (0)
Posted 7 years ago
the mechanism of whiplash


When people think of Whiplash they think of road traffic accidents. In reality whiplash is associated with sudden acceleration and deceleration or a ‘whipping’ motion. Of course this whipping action can also be caused by a sporting blow or tackle.

The whipping action causes trauma to soft tissues such as muscle, tendon, and ligaments. The force of the action can also sprain joints of the neck. Equally nerves can also be traumatised in an accident.

Physical examination may reveal a lack of head/neck movement, restricted because of muscular spasm and stiffness of the neck joints.

Check out the following link for a 3D image of the neck muscles Healthline

Clinical Signs

  • People often complain of pain and stiffness of the neck a day or two after an accident.
  • Muscular spasm can be noted in and around the neck.
  • Shoulder pain can may or may not be present.
  • If nerves have been damaged, symptoms may travel down the arm, including pins and needles or numbness.
  • Headaches are fairly common after an accident


  • In the early stages pain management is important. This can include the use of pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Heat and ice can be useful to ease symptoms.
  • Taping techniques and Acupuncture can be useful to ease symptoms of pain.
  • Its important to keep mobile, but take relative rest so not to aggravate symptoms.
  • As time progresses, neck stretches, soft tissue massage and joint mobilising are important to regain full function and health of the damaged joints and tissues.


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