Whiplash and whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) represent a range of injuries to the neck caused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck.
Whiplash is commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, usually when the vehicle has been hit in the rear; however, the injury can be sustained in many other ways, including falls from bicycles.
The exact injury mechanism that causes whiplash injuries is unknown. A whiplash injury may be the result of impulsive stretching of the spine, mainly the ligament: anterior longitudinal ligament which is stretched or tears, as the head snaps forward and then back again causing a whiplash injury.
Whiplash may be caused by any motion similar to a rear-end collision in a motor vehicle, such as may take place on a roller coaster or other rides at an amusement park, sports injuries such as skiing accidents, other modes of transportation such as airplane travel, or from being hit, kicked or shaken. Shaken baby syndrome can result in a whiplash injury.
The consequences of whiplash range from mild pain for a few days (which is the case for most people), to severe disability caused by restricted head movement or of the cervical spine, sometimes with persistent pain.
Alterations in resting state cerebral blood flow have been demonstrated in patients with chronic pain after whiplash injury
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Last Updated: Sep 15, 2014