Whiplash Injury

Whiplash describes the mechanism of injury to the spine.

Why does it happen?

Impact in a vehicular accident or sporting incident can cause a sudden acceleration and deceleration force to the spine. This results in injury to the muscles, ligaments and bones of the spine. These whiplash injuries can be slow to heal.


Symptoms are varied and affected by many factors including:

  • Nature of injury / incident.
  • Size of vehicles involved.
  • Individual’s position on impact.
  • Previous history of musculo-skeletal problems.
  • Speed at impact.
  • Age

Symptoms may include the following but can vary greatly:

  • Headache.
  • Pain / ache / stiffness in spine or limbs.
  • Pins and needles or numbness.
  • Dizziness / nausea.
  • Jaw pain.

Serious problems are rare but you must consult a doctor immediately if you have:

  • Pins and needles or numbness in limbs.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Severe, unremitting pain.

Physiotherapy treatment

Physiotherapy is very effective for the treatment of whiplash associated injuries. Thorough assessment will help determine the structures causing the pain. Treatment will be tailored individually and may include:

  • ‘Hands on’ specific joint movements
  • Massage and stretching of muscles and ligaments
  • Electro-therapy
  • Strapping
  • Acupuncture.

Simple exercises and advice on posture and activity will be given to help you return to your normal lifestyle.

What you can do

REMEMBER – stay active. Most people make a full recovery following whiplash injury.

  • Use medication to manage the pain (you may wish to discuss this with your GP or pharmacist)
  • Keep active
  • Experiment with pillows to keep your spine in good alignment
  • Use a heat pack wrapped in a towel to help with pain and muscle spasm

Don't suffer whiplash pain in silence, call us on 0191 284 0087.