If you’re suffering neck pain from an auto, bicycling, or other sports accident, the discomfort may be what is known as whiplash. By addressing it now, you may prevent chronic pain down the road.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the neck that comes in many forms and is characterized by a collection of symptoms. The most serious form of whiplash compresses nerves in the neck and causes multiple sprains of the ligaments. Whether front-to-back or side-to-side, whiplash can affect muscles in your back and arms.

How do you get it?

Most often the result of a car accident, whiplash is caused by an abrupt backward and/or forward jerking motion of the head. It is sometimes called “hyperextension injury” as the neck has made a whip-like motion, first bending toward and then away from the impact point. As the head moves rapidly, the neck muscles contract, and this momentum causes strain or sprain to the neck muscles and ligaments. The most serious form of whiplash compresses nerves in the neck and causes multiple sprains of the ligaments. Fortunately, serious injuries are in the minority, and whiplash tends to be more superficial damage to the muscles.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may be delayed for 24 hours or more, but you may initially experience whiplash as stiffness in the injured areas while developing one or more of the following symptoms within the first few days:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain
  • Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue

How is whiplash diagnosed?

In most cases, injuries can’t be seen on X-rays so specialized imaging tests such as CT scans or MRIs may be required to diagnose damage to soft tissues such as the discs, muscles, or ligaments.

What to do about whiplash

Within the first 24 hours, icing and gentle, active movement is recommended while limiting physical activity for a few days, and getting plenty of rest. Gentle movement will help circulate blood, oxygen, and nutrients through the healing tissues and speed the healing process. The neck is a very delicate part of the body, so it’s important to proceed with caution. While no single treatment has proven effective for whiplash, pain relief medications (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) along with gentle exercise, bodywork, physical therapy, and massage are helpful for many patients.

If you are experiencing symptoms of whiplash, Call Pain and Spine Specialists today. We will discuss your options and get you started on the right path to prevent chronic pain.

Call us in Maryland at 301-703-8767 | View MD Providers), in Pennsylvania at 724-603-3560 (View PA Providers), or in Virginia (540-433-1905 | View VA Providers)to make an appointment or use the form on our site to send us a message.

about us

We are a comprehensive pain management practice with locations Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Virginia. Our mission is to improve your quality of life with evidence based treatments and compassionate care that makes you feel like family.

Digital Guide

View our providers, locations, services, and patient reviews.

Related Articles
Tips for Diabetic Foot Care

Find A Location

If you are searching for "pain management near me" then click button to search by zip-code.

Contact Us

At Pain and Spine Specialists, we are committed to delivering the highest quality of care to our patients. Our patient care coordinators are available to answer questions Monday - Friday from 8:30 am - 5:00pm.

*We accept workers' comp and personal injury claim patients

Appointment FAQ's

Billing / Insurance Questions

We Accept All Insurances!

That includes Medicare and state Medicaid.

How Soon Can I Be Seen?

Usually within one week of the initial call.

Appointments can be schedule by phone or through our contact form here.

What To Expect During Appointments

At Pain and Spine Specialists we provide comprehensive pain care while offering the most up-to-date minimally invasive techniques. Our ethos is to treat each patient (and potential patient) as if they were a family member.

Click here to learn more.

Patient Portal / Policies

At Pain and Spine Specialists we want to provide the most efficient and pleasurable experience possible. As in all medical facilities, we have certain policies in place to ensure that you receive the time you require to address your needs as well as enhance your experience while in our care.

View our policies here.

Reviews and Testimonials

We encourage patient feedback to better improve your experience. We strive to create a friendly and warm environment where patients feel their voices are heard and validated.

View our patient reviews here.

Skip to content