Whiplash

  • Definition

    Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck from a sudden jerking or "whipping" of the head. This type of motion strains the muscles and ligaments of the neck beyond their normal range of motion.

    See also: Neck pain


    Considerations

    When a vehicle stops suddenly in a crash or is hit from behind, the seat belt will keep a person's body from being thrown forward. But the head may snap forward, then backward, causing a whiplash injury.


    Causes

    In addition to car accidents, whiplash can be caused by roller coasters and other amusement park rides, sports injuries, or being punched or shaken. (Whiplash is one of the hallmarks of shaken baby syndrome.)