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Whiplash, also referred to as neck strain, is the sudden extension and flexion of the neck. This is most commonly experienced following a rear-end automobile accident. Severe whiplash can cause injury to the discs, intervertebral joints, ligaments, nerve roots, and cervical muscles. The extent of the damage may not be evident for several days or weeks following the injury.

Treatment for whiplash initially involves wearing a soft cervical collar, taking anti-inflammatory or pain medication, and using ice to reduce swelling. Once the initial phase has passed, heat is often used to help relax the injured muscles. Pain and stiffness usually disappear within a few weeks. If the pain continues or becomes worse, further treatment and diagnostic evaluation is indicated to explore the possibility of a more serious injury.

Diagnosing and Treating Whiplash
To evaluate the extent of injury to the soft tissue in the neck--discs, ligaments, muscles--diagnostic imaging such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CT scan may be required. X-rays do not show soft tissue damage. If there is damage to the discs or nerve roots, surgery may be indicated to relieve the pressure on the affected nerves.

At The Bonati Institute, the surgeons and physicians use the latest imaging technologies to evaluate whiplash injury. Once an accurate diagnosis is obtained and the damage is defined, advanced arthroscopic surgery is available. All services at The Bonati Institute are done on an outpatient basis with no overnight hospitalization required.

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