Whiplash is when the soft tissues of the neck are injured by a sudden jerking or “whipping” of the head. This type of motion strains the muscles and ligaments of the neck beyond their normal range of motion.
In addition to car accidents, whiplash can be caused by roller coasters and other amusement park rides, sports injuries, or being punched or shaken.
You may feel pain and stiffness in your neck for the first few days following a whiplash injury. Then you feel better, but the pain and stiffness may come back several days later. This symptom can last for months or years.
The discomfort you feel may involve surrounding muscle groups in your head, chest, shoulders, and arms.