434.924.3627
Call Us

434.243.3675

Make an Appointment

Use the online form

Neurosciences

 

 

 

               

                

              

             

 

Questions?

Patients: Ask questions or make an appointment at 434.243.3675

Doctors: Refer a patient by calling 1.800.552.3723.

    

    

     

     

 

 

 

 

 

                        

Google Search Neuro
Home > Services > Conditions > Whiplash

Whiplash

Whiplash

Definition

Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury that can include:

  • Spraining the neck ligaments
  • Straining the neck muscles
  • Injury to cervical discs
  • Possible nerve injury
 Process Leading to Whiplash
Process Leading to Whiplash
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Whiplash can occur with any sudden, violent, backward jerk of the head or neck.

Risk

Factors that may increase your chance of whiplash include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Sporting events that include full contact
  • Falls
  • Assaults

Symptoms

Symptoms often develop in the hours after the injury although they can develop the days after the injury.

Symptoms may include:

  • Stiff neck
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Decreased range of neck motion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headache
  • Pain, numbness, or tingling extending down an arm
  • Unusual fatigue

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Most whiplash injuries do not show up on imaging tests. Your doctor may order some tests to make sure that no other injuries have occurred.

Your doctor may want to take images of the neck to look for further damage. Images may be taken with:

  • Neck x-rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • CT myelogram

An electromyogram may also be done to test for nerve damage.

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include:

  • Use an ice pack for the first few days, then switch to a heat pack. Apply for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Place a towel between the ice or heat pack and your skin.
  • Medications such as:
    • Over-the-counter pain relievers
    • Prescription pain relievers
    • Muscle relaxants
  • Moving as able—strict rest may slow recovery
  • Physical therapy and exercises
  • Joint manipulation of the spine done by a chiropractor or other trained provider

If you are diagnosed with whiplash, follow your doctor's instructions .

Prevention

There are no current guidelines for preventing whiplash. It often occurs due to an unexpected event.

MyChart

MyChart is an electronic medical record. With MyChart:

  • You and your doctor see your records and tests in one place.

  • It's easy for you to communicate with your healthcare providers.

  • Your UVA doctors to work together more efficiently to provide you with the best care possible.

  • You can ask for appointments online.

Access MyChart.

Join a Clinical Trial

Get access to the latest advanced treatments: Sign up for a clinical trial.

Find What You Need

Can't find the treatment or condition you're looking for?

Take a look:

Questions? You can always find the answers you need by contacting us.