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Winter Weather Information

Please note, all WakeMed Physician Practices, urgent cares, and outpatient services - lab, imaging, rehab and Healthworks - will be opening at 10 am on Wednesday, January 17 due to the potential for hazardous road conditions. Learn more.

Our hospitals and emergency departments never close.

Cervical Strain (Whiplash)

What is cervical strain, and how is it treated?

ortho spine Cervical

Also known as whiplash, cervical strain frequently results from stretch injuries to the muscles and ligaments of the cervical spine. Compressive forces can also be involved in certain instances. Because cervical strain can result from an acute incident, can develop over time, or can be the byproduct of poor posture, it is often difficult to tell it apart from other cervical and upper torso problems.

Pain with cervical strain is usually low, but patients who develop whiplash from a car accident can feel higher levels of discomfort. Tenderness, swelling, higher temperature of certain tissues, and muscle spasms are also common. Orthopedists rely partly on a patient’s cervical spine range of motion to make a diagnosis, as well as radiography to rule out any cervical fractures, dislocations, or spinal cord injuries.