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Whiplash occurs when your head is suddenly forced forward and then snapped backward, as might happen in a car crash or sports injury. This can cause pain and stiffness in your neck. Your head, chest, shoulders, and arms also may hurt.
Most whiplash gets better with home care. Your doctor may advise you to take medicine to relieve pain or relax your muscles. He or she may suggest exercise and physiotherapy to increase flexibility and relieve pain. You can try wearing a neck (cervical) collar to support your neck. For a while you probably will need to avoid lifting and other activities that can strain the neck.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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