What Is Whiplash and How Does It Occur?

Whiplash is the result of a person’s neck being thrust backward and forward, beyond their typical range of motion, without warning. It’s an injury that is commonly found in people who have been in a rear end vehicle collision, but it can also come from sporting injuries, amusement park rides or even physical abuse.

What does it feel like?

It can often take a day or two for symptoms of whiplash to begin to manifest. However, it is a good idea to contact personal injury compensation experts like Sinnamon Lawyers once you are sure of your diagnosis. Symptoms can last for weeks and commonly include stiffness and pain in the neck, headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. However, there are less common signs of whiplash such as ringing in the ears, sudden insomnia and problems concerning concentration and memory. Should these appear, see your doctor at once.

How does it occur?

As mentioned above, whiplash occurs when your neck muscles are put under a severe strain from rapid back-and-forward movement. The suddenness of the motion causes the tendons and ligaments in your neck to stretch and then tear. Whiplash can be brought on from a number of different incidents, but the most common are car accidents, contact sports, falls, blunt force trauma and even horseback or bicycle riding.

What do I do?

If you begin to experience symptoms like severe neck pain, continual stiffness, or pain that comes and goes, numbness or tingling in your shoulders, arms and legs, or any bladder or bowel issues you should see your doctor immediately. Should you wish to press charges against the person(s) responsible, it’s vital that you seek medical care after the incident. Your doctor will be able to keep a log of your condition, which your legal team can use when seeking damages.


Generally, your doctor will ask you a few questions about the nature of the incident. Simple things like where and how it happened, where you feel pain and if it is dull, shooting or sharp. They may also conduct a brief physical to assess your motion and look for any tender spots. An x-ray may be necessary to ensure that the pain isn’t connected to arthritis or another injury.


The positive news is that treating whiplash is quite straight forward. Your doctor will likely prescribe an over-the-counter pain medication like aspirin or Tylenol and advise you to apply an ice pack to the area and rest in bed. Severe injuries may require stronger medication and potentially muscle relaxants if spasms are a concern. Physio Therapy also has a part to play – simple exercises will help you regain strength and flexibility, and will also help you maintain good posture for faster recovery.

Whiplash is a very common complaint that can be treated quite easily, however care must be taken when dealing with it. Approaching whiplash treatment the wrong way, or simply doing nothing to address the injury can cause further health concerns later in life. Have you ever had whiplash? Tell your story in the comments below.


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