What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a type of neck injury caused by a sudden, unrestrained, movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways. It occurs when the soft tissues in the neck become damaged or stretched.

Commonly whiplash generally results from a traumatic event such as a motor vehicle accident. Other causes may include bungy jumping, roller coasters or sports related injuries.


Common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain/ Shoulder pain and stiffness/ tenderness
  • Back pain and stiffness/ tenderness
  • Arm pain and weakness/ numbness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Pins and needles sensations


In more severe cases of whiplash, symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • PTSD
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and frustration
  • Memory loss


It is a relatively common injury but is typically not life threatening. However it can lead to a prolonged period of partial disability.

Most people involved in minor road traffic accidents recover quickly without any severe symptoms however some came experience symptoms for years following the injury.

In light of the wide variation in symptoms, there are suggestions that the symptoms are created for economic gain. Unfortunately whilst there will always be people willing to attempt to mislead the system for personal gain, whiplash is a real condition with genuine symptoms.


Whiplash can be treated as follows:

  • Ice on the neck in a towel to reduce pain and swelling. This must be done for approximately 10-15 minutes every few hours for a few days until pain ceases.
  • Taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help with any swelling. This should be checked with a doctor. If over the counter medications do not work then prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants may be recommended.
  • Using a neck brace or neck collar if the doctor recommends this.
  • Applying heat to the neck however this should only be done after ice has been used for a few days prior.
  • Other treatments such as massage are recommended.
  • Stretching exercises to encourage flexibility, strength and good posture.
  • Active treatment as recommended by a physiotherapist.


As the symptoms and severity of whiplash injury can vary from person to person depending on the type of accident, the good news is that research shows the large majority of sufferers recovery within a few days to a few months with active treatment.

This blog is not intended to provide any medical advice and if you are suffering from symptoms you should always seek medical attention.

If you have been in a car accident and have sustained a whiplash injury, contact Nayyars Solicitors on 0161 491 8520 to discuss making a claim for personal injury.

Kate Draper

Litigation Case Handler FCILEx

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