Whiplash is a neck injury caused by sudden movement of the head. It usually gets better within 2 to 3 months.
Whiplash most often happens after a traffic accident or a slip or fall.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
It can take several hours for the symptoms to start after you injure your neck.
There are some things you can do to treat whiplash.
do not use a neck brace or collar to support your neck – this does not help
do not rest your neck for long periods of time
You have injured your neck and:
These symptoms could be caused by damage to the nerves in your neck or back.
You can call 111 or check your symptoms on 111 online.
A GP may prescribe a stronger painkiller such as codeine for whiplash.
If your symptoms do not get any better after a few weeks, a GP may refer you:
Physiotherapy from the NHS may not be available in your area and waiting times can be long. You can also get physiotherapy privately.
Page last reviewed: 03-01-2023
Next review due:03-01-2026