Whiplash injury


  • Also known as Acute Cervical Strain
  • Sudden acceleration-deceleration trauma that occurs when car is rear-ended

Clinical Features

  • Pain, stiffness, paracervical muscle tenderness
  • Isolated cervical strain should have normal neuro exam

Differential Diagnosis

Neck Trauma


  • Clinical diagnosis by history and physical exam
  • Use C-Spine (NEXUS) criteria to determine whether imaging is required
  • Consider brain, cord, carotid/vertebral artery dissection if neuro findings are present


  • Symptomatic treatment e.g. ibuprofen
  • Studies have shown worsened range of motion and pain scores at 1 and 6 months after whiplash injury with placement of non-rigid (soft) cervical collars[1]


  • Generally outpatient management

See Also

External Links


  1. The role of non-rigid cervical collar in pain relief and functional restoration after whiplash injury: a systematic review and a pooled analysis of randomized controlled trials Ricciardi L, Stifano V, D’Arrigo S, et al. Eur Spine J. 2019;28(8):1821-1828.