WHIPLASH – what you need to know…

Well, this is a term I’m sure many people have heard of. But what exactly is whiplash?

Whiplash is when the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the neck have been overstretched from a sudden and forceful jerk of the head. Mostly, this is seen with motor vehicle accidents – but it can occur in contact or high-impact sports, bungee jumping or physical trauma. Neck pain can be experienced immediately, but in some cases, the pain doesn’t come on for a few hours, days and sometimes even weeks!

Here are some symptoms whiplash can cause:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headaches/dizziness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Shoulder/jaw pain
  • Arm weakness
  • Back pain
  • Fatigue

In clinic, what I commonly see is people who leave their whiplash injury because no pain or strain was felt at the time. Or patients who experienced pain but were told to take pain killers and have some bed rest so eventually the aggravation will go away on its own. And the pain will go away on its own, as the body is incredible at adapting! But that doesn’t mean the problem has been corrected at its root. And this is where the complications can arise…

Leaving a whiplash injury can lead to a number of problems down the track. The biggest impact is seen on the alignment of the cervical spine (neck) in x-rays – and can sometimes be seen physically with really poor posture. The cervical spine usually comes forward, so there is a loss of the natural cervical curve. Not only has the curve been lost, but in some cases, the neck curve becomes anteverted (curving in the opposite direction) which can be quite taxing on the body. This can lead to stiffening and weakness of the neck and back muscles over time, and there is a higher risk of having misalignments in the neck and back that can lead to problems down the track if left untreated.


Whiplash injuries are not something to be left on their own to get better. The results later down the track may not be the most positive!

Have you had a whiplash injury in the past that has been left untreated? Do you suffer from some of these symptoms? Book online for an Initial consultation by CLICKING HERE to have your spine checked!

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