WHIPLASH is an injury in which the head is jerked back violently and then flicked forward like the tip of a whip.
This can happen when a fast moving vehicle comes to a sudden stop or when a car is struck by another vehicle from the front or rear.
Sometimes an adult may pick up a baby that is crying and shake it violently to quieten it. This can also result in a whiplash injury.
In a whiplash injury the vertebrae in the neck and the segments and muscles surrounding them can get severely damaged. In some cases the damage may extend to the brain.
Treatment consists in immobilising the neck with a neck brace and giving pain relievers. Later, massage may be given to speed up recovery.
The use of a safety belt by drivers and passengers in cars can reduce the risk of a whiplash injury.