Neck Pain : Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissues in your neck.

It occurs when your head moves backwards and then forward very suddenly and with great force.

This movement can strain the joints, muscles, ligaments, discs or nerves in your neck.

It is a very common injury following a rear-end car collision, or even from sporting injuries or amusement park rides.

whiplash spine

Your symptoms might not be apparent for a few days, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any symptoms and try and get on top of them early.

5 Recommendations To Help You Manage Your Whiplash Injury

1. Get On Top Of The Pain Early

Your neck won’t be too painful at the time of the accident, but there is normally a gradual increase in pain over the next 48-72 hours after the accident.

Use a heat bag to help reduce muscle stiffness for the first few days, approx. 20 mins every 3 or 4 hours.

If you are already on medications for other health conditions, you will need to double check with your Doctor before you take any anti-inflammatories.

2. Stay Active And Working If Possible

Rest is good, but prolonged immobilisation is not.

Keep doing your usual daily activities as much as you can.

Studies show that those who remain at work will have a speedier recovery in comparison with those who take a longer time off.

Talk to your health care professional about ways to modify tasks at work so that your neck doesn’t get aggravated.

3. Keep Your Neck Gently Moving

Just like with any other injury, keeping your neck still for too long will stiffen up your neck.

These exercises may help to keep your muscles and joints moving and reduce postural strain and pain.


1. Looking up

2. Looking down

3. Looking over each shoulder by rotating your neck side to side and

4. Tilting one ear to your shoulder, then repeat on the other side

Perform slow, smooth controlled movements, with your mouth and jaw relaxed. Remember not to push your neck into any pain and avoid sudden jerky movements.


4. Posture

Set up your work or social spaces so that you are in the best position for your spine.

Poor posture will put more strain through your neck and shoulders and can even make your pain worse.

Correct posture will help take some of the load off of your neck and shoulders.

A few tips are:

  • Make sure your computer is directly in front of you and your desk is at a height that you
  • Get up and move around every hour or so if you are at work
  • In social situations, sit where you can see people straight on
5. Physio Treatment

Our physios will be able to provide some hands-on treatment and provide you with more advice to get you feeling back to yourself again.

We will work with you for as long as you need us to and can offer a number of services such as:

  • Hands on therapies such as massage, mobilisations for your neck and muscles
  • Dry needling/acupuncture
  • Myofascial cupping
  • Providing some more exercises for you to do at home so that you can self-manage your injury
  • Provide you with your plan determined by usual healing time frames and what to expect from a whiplash injury
  • Advice about a modified return to your workplace and return to any sporting commitments


Please remember that this is general advice only. Consult your medical professional about specific advice to your situation.

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