Whiplash is an injury to the neck (cervical spine), which is common with rear end collision type injuries as well as sporting ones. It occurs when the head is forced backwards and then forwards unexpectedly with a large amount of force. Harris & Ross are highly experienced in treating trauma injuries such as whiplash- find out more about this issue and how we go about treating it below:

The impact can cause bony or soft tissue injuries, which can lead to a variety of clinical symptoms.

Causes of Injury

Causes include:

  • Sport – in this case the neck is quickly and forcefully extended by a direct blow from an opponent (such as a rugby tackle or punch in boxing), or through contact with the ground
  • Road Traffic Accident – such as in a rear end collision


What happens?

The speed and unexpected nature of the impact means that the body does not have enough time to actively protect itself. As a result the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) of the neck are stretched past their normal range of movement, and joints of the verterbae in the neck are forcefully stretched and compressed.  Muscles, joints and neural tissue can all be affected, and often become disproportionately sensitive relative to the damage to the soft tissues.

Pain may not be felt at the time of injury but often present the following day or gradually across the 48 hours following the accident.


Signs and Symptoms

Whiplash is graded from 1-4 depending on severity of symptoms. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Avoidance of moving the neck due to fear of causing damage
  • Pain across the shoulders


You should seek medical help if:

  • Any problems with bowel or bladder develop
  • Pins and needles or numbness, tingling in your shoulders, arms or leg
  • Pronounced weakness in an arm or a leg



Physiotherapy plays a vital role for those people suffering with symptoms of whiplash. Education, exercises and hands on therapy in combination is the best evidence based approach to effective and timely recovery from whiplash.

Physiotherapy treatment includes:

  • Advice and education regarding whiplash
  • Range of movement exercises for the neck within a comfortable range
  • Stretches (Gentle initially)
  • Progressive Strengthening exercises
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Spinal mobilisation
  • Functional exercises
  • Phase back to sport specific activities for the athlete

To make an appointment for an initial physio assessment at our Manchester, Wilmslow, Altrincham or Wigan clinics, and discuss a treatment plan for your whiplash issue call Harris & Ross on 0161 832 9000 or click the book now icon below.