A relatively common injury, whiplash is a neck injury brought about by forceful and rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. A whiplash injury refers to damage to both the soft tissues and bone structures of the neck. Some of its most common symptoms include neck pain, shoulder pain, headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, arm pain and visual disturbances. If left untreated whiplash associated disorders may develop anxiety, stress, depression, anger, sleep disturbance and drug dependency.
Years ago, whiplash patients were made to wear a cervical collar for a few weeks to limit neck movement and prevent additional injuries. But after several studies and tests, it was determined that early range of motion exercises allows for a more rapid improvement of symptoms from whiplash and immobilization could prolong recovery unless there is gross pathology involved.
Anyone who experiences the symptoms of whiplash following an auto accident or any other traumatic injury should see a doctor immediately. Although in most cases it is not life-threatening, whiplash can lead to future problems when left untreated.