NORTH DERBYSHIRE PHYSIOTHERAPY SERVICES
This leaflet is designed to supplement
the advice given by your G.P. It is to
help you deal with your present neck
injury and enable you to look after
your neck in the future. The
is written by
Physiotherapists and based on the
latest medical advice.
A d v i c e F o l l o w i n g
W h i p l a s h
A whiplash injury is caused by a sudden and unrestrained
movement of the head. It may be a forward, backward or
sideways movement. The most common cause is a road
traffic accident but a blow to the head or fall may produce
It is not unusual for symptoms of pain and stiffness to be
delayed for 24 or 48 hours. Severe whiplash may take many
months to fully resolve, however most mild cases settle down
within a few weeks.
Current evidence shows that early movement of the affected
joints and maintenance of normal activities will help to
prevent any delay in recovery from this type of injury.
The following advice should help you to effectively
manage the early stage of your whiplash injury.
It is common after this type of injury to allow the head to
droop forward in an attempt to escape the pain. However
this increases the strain on already sensitive tissue structures
and will delay recovery.
Try to maintain an upright posture. Sit with a rolled up towel
behind your lower back and your bottom as far back in the
chair as possible. Your neck should be relaxed but held
Used with permission of The Saunders Group Inc
At home you can try using either heat (a hot water bottle or
wheat bag) or cold (frozen peas or ice pack) to reduce pain
and spasm. To prevent a burn these items should be
wrapped in a tea towel before placing on the skin. Apply for
15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours if necessary.
Try not to sleep on your stomach. Sleep