Whiplash is the name of a neck injury which occurs as a result of sudden head movement forward, backward or sideways. Whiplash can occur as a result of a car accident, sporting activity, a fall or physical abuse. The movement causes the neck to make a movement in a manner similar to a whip, hence the name whiplash. This leads to sudden stretching of the tissues in the neck, leading to injury that varies depending on the speed and extent of the sudden movement 1.
In most cases, whiplash improves within weeks. However, there are cases in which whiplash lasts for months. In some cases, whiplash symptoms may go on for years and become chronic. They may also present with varying severity. Because of the varied nature of whiplash symptoms and the uniqueness of each case, the condition is referred to as whiplash associated disorders.
Whiplash Symptom #1: Stiff Neck
A stiff neck that occurs after you have been in an accident or experienced sudden movement of the head may be a whiplash symptom. In most cases, a whiplash injury affects the soft tissues in the neck. It may also involve a joint, ligaments or even discs. This can lead to soreness that limits your range of motion. As a result, you may find it difficult to move your neck either sideways, forwards, backwards or in several directions depending on the location of the injuries.
It is, however, an inconclusive assumption because other conditions such as meningitis can also present with a stiff neck. Irrespective of whether or not you are sure about the whiplash, it is important that you see a health professional for examination and determination of your condition.
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