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Whiplash is an injury to your neck. It is caused by your neck bending forcibly forward and then backward, or vice versa. The injury, which is poorly understood, usually involves the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in your neck.
Most whiplash injuries result from a collision that includes sudden acceleration or deceleration. Many whiplash injuries occur when you are involved in a rear-end automobile collision. They also happen as a result of a sports injury, particularly during contact sports.
These are the most common symptoms of whiplash:
The symptoms of whiplash may look like other conditions and medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, tests for whiplash may include the following. Many whiplash injuries include damage to soft tissue that can't be seen on X-rays:
Your healthcare provider will determine specific treatment for whiplash, based on:
Treatment may include:
While most people who have a whiplash injury recover within a few weeks to a few months, some have persistent pain for several months or longer.
If your symptoms have not improved within the time frame your healthcare provider suggested, let him or her know. Also, if your symptoms get worse or you get new symptoms, tell your provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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