Whiplash is a nonmedical term used to describe neck pain following an injury to the soft tissues of the neck (specifically ligaments, tendons, and muscles). It is caused by an abnormal motion or force applied to the neck that causes movement beyond the neck's normal range of motion. It is usually caused by a flexion-extension motion of the neck that pulls and strains the neck muscles and ligaments.
Whiplash happens in motor vehicle accidents, sporting activities, accidental falls, and assault.
Synonyms for whiplash include acceleration flexion-extension neck injury and soft tissue cervical hyperextension injury. A doctor may use the more specific terms of cervical sprain, cervical strain, or hyperextension injury.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014
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