The most frequent cause of whiplash is a car accident. The speed of the cars involved in the accident or the amount of physical damage to the car may not relate to the intensity of neck injury; speeds as low as 15 miles per hour can produce enough energy to cause whiplash in occupants, even when they wear seat belts.
Other common causes of whiplash include contact sport injuries and blows to the head from a falling object or being assaulted.
Strains of the neck from sudden changes in direction, for example, roller coasters, minor bicycle accidents, or slips and falls can all cause whiplash.
Repetitive stress injuries or chronic strain involving the neck (such as using the neck to hold the telephone) are common, non-acute causes.
Child abuse, particularly the shaking of a child, can also result in this injury as well as in more serious injuries to the child's brain or spinal cord.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014
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