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Whiplash Injury

Whiplash injury to the neck most commonly occurs in motor vehicle collisions involving sudden braking or impact. The head is forcefully thrown forward and backward, resulting in a strain of the neck muscles and spinal ligaments. More severe injury can also cause sprain of the spinal joints and disc damage, with intense pain and muscle spasm.

The most frequent complaints are headaches and stiffness in the neck and the back of the head. There can also be upper and lower back pain, and referred nerve pain with tingling into the arm and hand. These symptoms usually appear within the first couple of days after the accident, but sometimes appear days or even weeks later. The symptoms gradually resolve after a few days or weeks, however in some cases the condition may become chronic, with significant pain and disability.


RED FLAGS include: worsening headache, visual disturbances, vomiting, increasing neck pain, increasing or new numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or legs or changes in bowel or bladder function. If any of these occurs, seek URGENT MEDICAL HELP.

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  • Using an ice pack in the first 48 hours can provide pain relief and limit swelling and inflammation.
  • Heat packs can be used after the initial phase – at least 3 days or more after injury.
  • A soft collar should be worn to support your neck to give the muscles time to recover, particularly if there is referred pain into your arm. For more painful injuries a rigid neck brace may be needed.
  • Natural remedies for injury can help fast track the healing process: Injurease products are highly recommended, as they contain active ingredients (including Arnica) that help relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Nervease is a natural formulation that is effective for relieving nerve pain, tingling and numbness in the arms/hands following whiplash.
  • Herbal Pain Relief capsules can provide natural pain control for the first few days after injury.
  • Neckease is useful for relieving residual stiffness and soreness in the neck muscles.
  • A TENS unit can help control chronic persistent pain, and is a viable alternative to having to continually take pain medication.
  • When you can tolerate it, a rolled towel under your neck while lying on your back can provide light traction, alleviating muscle tension and supporting the normal curve in your neck.
  • Sleeping on a therapeutic contour support pillow helps the long term health of the neck.
  • As with any recent sprain /strain it is better to wait a few days before you attempt any stretches or exercises. After the worst of the pain has settled, increasing pain-free movement with neck stretches is important to stop your neck from “seizing up” with muscle contraction and scar tissue.
  • Chiropractic or osteopathic treatment are effective in restoring proper movement once the acute pain and spasm have settled.