Information for patients after Road Traffic Crash Neck Injury/ Whiplash.

Cork Emergency Departments

Road accidents can cause a strain injury of the neck muscles. When the impact occurs the forces transmitted to the head cause it to rock backwards and forwards stressing the neck muscles. Pain is commonly felt in the back of the neck; from the base of the skull down towards the shoulder blades and towards the spine.

Pain may be present immediately or develop later, often overnight, giving morning pain and stiffness.

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Rest - avoiding heavy work and lifting, (housework is heavy work, especially ironing and vacuuming)

Warmth - is comforting, e.g. baths, showers, hot water bottle, heat pad, warm clothes when out of doors

Time - neck sprains can take several weeks to settle

Exercise - mobility aids recovery; do the exercises on the neck exercise sheet regularly to prevent muscle spasm

Painkillers - regular use is recommended, especially at first

Talking - tell your partner or close friends how you really feel. Don't be afraid to feel upset, and say so.

Common symptoms after car crash neck injury

These can last several weeks or sometimes a few months after a neck sprain injury. Usually they are not serious, but can be troublesome. The most commonly reported symptoms are listed first.)

  • Headache and dizziness
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Impaired sleep
  • Backache
  • Anxiety about driving or traffic
  • Cracking noises from the neck
  • Tingling or "pins and needles" in one or both arms
  • Irritability and loss of drive
  • Tearfulness, easily upset, emotional
  • Poor concentration, forgetfulness
  • Flashbacks and upsetting memories

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Other Instructions:

If you are concerned, please contact the Emergency Department you first attended: MUH (021) 4271971 M-UCC at SMHC (St. Mary’s Health Campus) (021) 4926900 CUH (021) 4920200 LIU Mallow General Hospital (022) 58506 Bantry General Hospital (027) 52900

Gemma Kelleher, Íomhar O' Sullivan, Consultants in Emergency Medicine 10 March 2005. Last review Dr ÍOS 17/06/21.