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Treating Whiplash

| February 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

We’ve all heard the jokes about the driver who wore a neck brace and claimed to have whiplash in order to con someone into paying big money for injuries. It may happen, but in reality whiplash is no laughing matter.


Examples of whiplash

Most injuries from whiplash occur as a result of a rear-end or side-impact motor vehicle collision. This happens when the head and neck of the occupant of the front vehicle are forced into hyperextension. Falls or violent collisions in contact sports are other scenarios where whiplash occurs, surprisingly more frequently in women than in men.

Victims of whiplash usually feel neck pain and stiffness within 24-48 hours after the collision. They also could experience any or all of these symptoms:

  • headaches
  • dizziness,
  • numbness and tingling
  • decreased concentration
  • blurred vision

Initial treatment can include anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers, ice, and gentle stretching exercises. Neck braces should be avoided because they tend to worsen the stiffness and contribute to loss of range of motion. Your Physiatrist may also recommend physical therapy, or perform injections into the muscle to relieve pain and increase healing time.

Most whiplash victims recover fully within 6-12 months after their accident, with appropriate treatment.


If you have any tips, stories or experiences concerning pain management, physiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), or methods you have used to prevent injuries, we would like to hear them and perhaps add them to our upcoming ebook – Lessons From Physiatry. For more details, log on to

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Category: Pain Management

Christopher Burton, M.D.

About the Author ()

Christopher Burton, M.D. is a physician, speaker, coach and trainer, practicing in Pensacola, FL. He specialized in Physiatry - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), which is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of conditions - particularly those of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems - that may produce temporary or permanent impairment of function. In addition to his practice, he actively lectures on health, nutrition and exercise for healthcare groups, colleges, schools and travels internationally discussing treatment and rehabilitation of athletes.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Burton you can view his personal website at:

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