When there is an extension or flexion of the neck, (neck strain) whiplash occurs. When the athlete is struck from behind during contact sports, injury occurs, and the head is thrown both forward and backward. Soft tissues of the neck such as cervical muscles, ligaments, discs and nerve roots may be injured, producing stiffness, neck pain and loss of motion.
Back, the hips and trunk are the body segments and joints to experience movement during a strain. Forward movement, which acts to compress the spine accompanies motion in these structures. This motion causes the head producing tension when moving backwards in which the lower cervical segment extends and upper flexes. With this motion of the vertebrae, the anterior structures are separated and posterior components including joints are compressed.
Cause of injury
Tackle from behind, e.g. soccer. Sharp collision with another athlete or item of equipment. Blow to the head in boxing.
Signs and symptoms
Stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulder or between shoulder blades. Blurry vision or ringing in the ears. Fatigue and irritability.
Whiplash injury can create symptoms of inflexibility, chronic pain and lack together with worsening or the continuation of symptoms of sleep loss, fatigue, concentration and memory loss. Symptoms may indicate significant injury with consequences to the spinal vertebrae.
The regimen that is RICER. Immobilization using a cervical collar.
Rehabilitation and prevention
Though motion is encouraged to avoid stiffening the neck will be immobilized with some kind of brace. Low-impact flexibility and strength training and rehabilitation should accompany recovery of discs, the tendons and ligaments. Though prevention in contact sports might not be guaranteed risk of whiplash may be minimized with a routine in addition to protective equipment.
The prognosis for whiplash injuries is usually great, given maintenance, the neck might be prone to re-injury and though symptoms may persist.