Here’s a riddle: What do rough sports and car accidents have in common? Learn here:

Whiplash or CAD Syndrome

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a term used to describe a painful neck injury that's often associated with car accidents, but it can occur from contact sports, falls, or other trauma. Whiplash is also referred to Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration, or CAD, Syndrome. Whiplash may result in conditions like herniated disc, cervical sprains, and others.

What causes Whiplash?

When a sudden force or trauma causes the neck to jerk out of its normal range of motion, whiplash occurs. This tends to happen in intense situations, such as car accidents that cause the head to jerk back and forth. However, this can also occur in rough sports or any trauma that roughly forces the neck to move out of its normal range. This is called hyperextension, and it may cause damage to the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the neck. Whiplash can cause the neck's vertebral discs to bulge, tear, or even rupture in severe cases.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms vary depending on the severity and type of injury. Common symptoms of whiplash may include dizziness, stiffness and pain in the neck, headache, and shoulder and back pain. Other symptoms may include issues with chewing or swallowing, as well as pins-and-needles or other abnormal sensations. Your physician will perform a review of your medical history and a physical exam. X-rays may be ordered, as well as MRIs or CT scans, depending on the type of injury suspected.

How is Whiplash treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the injury, but most injuries due to trauma need immediate medical attention to avoid complications in the long run. Often, conservative treatments may help treat pain from whiplash. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy exercises, bracing the neck with a soft cervical collar, medication, and nerve blocks. In rare cases, surgery may be needed.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

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COVID-19 Update:
We are still open and treating patients, however, in order to assist in minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 virus and in order to make it safer for you we have made some changes which, we hope, will be temporary.

Appointments made for office visits will be distanced apart in order to avoid crowding the waiting room.

In addition, we are currently working a reduced office schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30 AM to 12 noon. If for some reason, you are only able to come in the afternoon special arrangements can be made.

If you call the office and the answering service answers, you can leave a message with them for a routine follow-up and we will call you back. If you believe your symptoms are more serious, then please ask the answering service to patch the call through to me.

For some types of office visits, we also have telemedicine options that can be downloaded for free onto your iPhone. These include Zoom and FaceTime.

Thank you for your continued support during these times and we look forward to serving you in full capacity towards the end of April.


Donald Mackenzie, M.D, F.R.C.S.C, F.A.C.S.