A whiplash neck sprain occurs when your head is suddenly jolted backwards and forwards in a whip-like movement usually caused in motor car accidents known as a “rear-ender”. These movements generate considerable force, typically causing the neck to move far beyond the normal range of movement and causes damage to the delicate supporting structures of the neck. Whiplash is effectively a sprain of the joints in the neck – Chiropractors refer to this as a vertebral subluxation.
Whiplash can also result from forceful sporting injuries that cause similar stress to the neck joints, ligaments, muscles and discs.
Who gets whiplash?
Whiplash neck sprains are common. About 2 in 3 people involved in car accidents develop neck pain (with or without other injuries). Many people are surprised with the onset of neck pain following even minor car accidents some hours following the accident. It is important to note that even minor car bumps can cause enough whipping of the neck to cause symptoms. Less commonly, whiplash can result from everyday mishaps such as jolting your neck when you trip of fall.