Whiplash Injuries Guidelines
Whiplash is a widespread term used to describe a number of injuries caused when
the neck is suddenly and quickly forced to move back and then forth, or forward then
back, or even from side to side. Such movement is often the result of a traffic
collision, or following a blow to the head or fall during a contact sport.
The bones of the human spine serve to protect the fragile spinal cord which is
located within. Of the 33 vertebrae of the human spine, whiplash aff ects the seven
cervical vertebrae found at the top.
Vertebrae are connected to one another by bands of fi brous connective tissue called
ligaments. They are also connected to the surrounding muscles by tendons. In the
event of an incident, damage can be done to both of these tissues in the vicinity of
During an incident where a vehicle has struck the victim from behind, the head will
be forced very quickly back and then forwards, but likewise if the sudden neck
movement is due to very abrupt deceleration, the head will instead be jerked in the
other direction – ie first forward and then back. Both types can result in whiplash
injuries ranging from neck stiff ness and loss of movement to back and shoulder
pain, headaches and even numbness that can radiate down the shoulders, arms and
It should be noted that although whiplash is considered a fairly minor injury, any
head or neck trauma should be checked out by a medical professional. However,
most muscle and tissue injuries do not show up on X-rays, so sometimes it can be
difficult to diagnose.
Early management of Whiplash Associated Disorders