What is Whiplash

Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe neck pain following an injury typically to the soft tissues of the neck (specifically ligaments, tendons, and muscles).

It is caused by an abnormal motion or force applied to the neck that causes movement beyond the neck’s normal range of motion. It is usually caused by a flexion-extension motion of the neck that pulls and strains the neck muscles and ligaments. View the video below to see the Whiplash sequence that occurs in a rear-end collision.

Whiplash sequence captured on video.

Whiplash and neck pain can stem from any type of motor vehicle accident. Rear end collisions are the most common and in this type of accident the body (trunk) is thrust forwards, this causes the natural curves of the upper back and neck to be reversed and causes an enormous ‘compression force’ on the neck structures. Please view the video below labelled ‘Normal neck motion’ and observe how the neck vertebrate move on each other in a smooth gliding motion.

Normal neck motion.

In contrast, view the video titled ‘Pinch’ and view how a rear end collision can cause pinching and compression of joint surfaces. The resulting compression/pinching results in ‘pain’. Of course this excessive neck movement also strains muscles, ligament and tendons in the neck, all resulting in pain and muscle guarding/spasm. With the passage of time the pathology (tissue damage) will heal, but the pain can be everlasting. The pain is often due to the muscle weakness that develops over time from not using your neck properly. Our program at the Melbourne Whiplash Centre, can identify which muscles are not functioning properly, and which muscles have been damaged due to your injury or accident. Our rehabilitation program then goes about correcting this weakness, improving your neck function resulting typically in a reduction in your pain and symptoms.


Whiplash happens in motor vehicle accidents, sporting activities, accidental falls, and physical assaults.

If you are suffering from Whiplash or Whiplash type symptoms (sore neck, headache, jaw pain, weak neck, a heavy head), then contact our team at the Melbourne Whiplash Centre for a detailed evaluation to gain relief of your symptoms. Call us now on: 9583 0333 or complete the form below.