Whiplash injury. Illustration of a head and torso in multiple exposure, depicting a whiplash injury to the neck. When the neck is bent forcibly and violently forwards and then backwards, or vice versa, an injury can be caused to spinal joints of the neck, to the spinal cord, to ligaments, and soft tissues. Spine damage can involve subluxation (partial dislocation) of a cervical joint, neck fracture, or a ligament may rupture. If the spinal cord is not itself damaged, full recovery can occur within weeks. Commonly pain and neck stiffness are worse 24 hours after the injury. Treatment may involve an orthopaedic collar, muscle-relaxant drugs, and physiotherapy.
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