Where Does it Hurt Series
* Please Note: Below is a listing of some but not all conditions that physical therapists treat. This page is intended for informational purposes only. The information below should in no way be considered complete and in no way should be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your physician, physical therapist or other healthcare provider for more information on the condition that concerns you.
Whiplash-Associated Disorder (WAD)
The term “whiplash-associated disorder” is used to describe the clinical manifestations of a whiplash injury – which occurs when an “acceleration-deceleration” force is applied on the neck. The neck is injured by a sudden jerking or “whipping” of the head – straining the muscles and ligaments of the neck beyond their normal range of motion.
While many associate the occurrence of WAD with car accidents, it can occur in any mishap when an acceleration-deceleration force is applied on the neck – for example, in a diving accident, on roller coasters, sports injuries, or being punched or shaken.
- Pain in the neck, head, shoulder, and arms
- Pain and stiffness in the neck – muscles may feel knotted and stiff
- Pain when moving head from side-to-side, front-to-back, and rotation
Our necks are exposed to a lot of stress. Often, people experience pain in this region caused by a number of different factors. The pain may begin in any of the structures in the neck (muscles, nerves, vertebrae and the disks between them, etc.) and can radiate down to the back and arms. Pain can also be radiated from other areas like the shoulder, jaw, head, or upper arms.
A common cause of neck pain is muscle strain or tension – and everyday activities are the culprit. Being bent over a desk all day, poor posture while reading or watching TV, or sleeping in an awkward position can all be causes. It can also be caused by more serious incidents, like falls or accidents. Other causes may include a cervical herniated disk, arthritis, and meningitis.
- Stiffness and soreness of the neck
- Difficulty moving head
- Pain that spreads to shoulders, arms, or back
- If neck pain involves nerves, you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm, hand, or elsewhere.