Whiplash: Prevention And Treatment To Help You Heal

Whiplash is identified as a sudden neck movement where the head lurches forward and then backward, and the resulting injury can be very painful. More than 2 million people will experience whiplash every year, and it doesn't take a major vehicle accident for this type of injury to occur. Learn how to prevent whiplash from happening to you, what the symptoms are, and the best way to treat this injury.


Whiplash can happen at any time. You can get whiplash from a fall, riding your bike, performing gymnastics routines, or from being involved in a car accident. Even a basic fall, such as slipping in the kitchen or shower, can cause your head to snap. The best way to prevent this painful neck injury is to perform safety precautions, such as:

  • always properly wearing your seat belt
  • wearing protective head gear when riding a bike or or other equipment
  • walking carefully along icy or slippery ground
  • cleaning household spills to prevent slipping

As you age, your center of balance becomes more unstable, making you more susceptible to getting whiplash.


Most symptoms of whiplash will occur within 24 hours of an accident or fall, but you may notice pain and stiffness several weeks after an incident. Symptoms include:

  • feeling dizzy
  • neck stiffness or pain
  • headaches
  • inability to move your neck
  • increasing pain in your neck or shoulders

It's important that you take any fall or accident seriously that involves hitting your head. Even if you feel fine, document the date, time and details of the incident that occurred so if you begin to experience any whiplash symptoms down the line you can trace them back to your original accident.


After any kind of head injury, you should have your neck and head checked out by a doctor. They will likely wish to do an x-ray of your neck and spine, particularly if you have been in an automobile accident or a major fall. An x-ray will show signs of inflammation and any bone or joint damage. You may also be prescribed a mild muscle relaxant and painkiller to help you manage your pain while you heal.

Follow any doctor-approved range of motion that will help keep your neck muscles limber. This may involve moving your head back and forth and up and down to help your muscles stay strong. The last thing you want to do is keep your neck still, even if it causes you pain, unless you have been strictly ordered to do so by your doctor. If your symptoms fail to improve after a few weeks or months, see your doctor for further testing.

Whiplash can happen to anyone at any time, and if you feel you may have this kind of injury, it's important that you take it seriously. Document your accident, seek medical care, and keep your head and neck moving to help your body heal. For more information, contact a clinic such as Rosser Chiropractic Center.