Back Pain

Updated 01 March 2017

Cervical sprain (whiplash)

Cervical sprain (whiplash) usually results from a sudden movement or sudden motion. The head snaps back suddenly such as when an athlete is tackled while being unprepared.


Muscle strains usually occur with ligament sprains. A sprain of the neck produces tears in the major supporting tissues of the neck.

Symptoms include localised pain, point tenderness and restricted motion. A term called “muscle guarding” also takes place and this results from the pain where there is a reluctance to move the neck in any direction. The above-mentioned symptoms all persist for a time and may also be accompanied by tenderness over the transverse and spinous processes.

An interesting phenomenon with this condition is that pain may not always be experienced initially but always appears the day after the injury occurred.

Time out of action
Time out is usually in the region of three to four weeks depending on severity of injury and symptoms. – (Conrad Booysen, Biokineticist)

Other related articles:
Painkillers (Paracetamol)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
COX-2 specific inhibitors
Different Steroids
Cortisone injections


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Backache expert

Susan qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1990, and completed her master’s degree in Physiotherapy in 2013 at the University of Pretoria. She has a special interest in human biomechanics, as well as the interaction between domestic and work-related ergonomics.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules