Chronic whiplash-associated disorder


Whiplash injuries are very common, and can result from not only road traffic collisions, but also from sports and falls. If left untreated and managed, whiplash injuries can cause chronic pain and disability.


In at least 40% of people, symptoms should resolve by 6 weeks, and by 12 weeks, there should be complete resolution in at least 40% of people. Approximately 50% of people fully recover within 1 year.


Whiplash associated disorders are characterised by multiple complaints after a flexion-extension injury to the neck. Symptoms may include headache, dizziness, neck pain and cognitive symptoms. Due to the complexity of whiplash injury, a multidisciplinary approach is preferable, which may include medical professionals, rehabilitation professionals, and psychology professionals.


Trials reveal that exercise programmes that focus on cervical spine strength, endurance and stretching appear to be most effective. It is advisable to be directed by your health professional as to what is most appropriate for your injury.