Acceleration/deceleration injury - Neck Injuries

What is an acceleration/deceleration injury?

This injury is commonly referred to, or associated with whiplash. Whiplash involves the transfer of acceleration and deceleration forces; usually this is caused by car accidents which cause the body to be thrust forward and then backwards in quick succession. During the movements, the tissue surrounding the spine becomes stretched and may be damaged.

Symptoms of acceleration/deceleration injuries

Common symptoms include pain in the neck and back, a restricted range of movement, dizziness, blurred vision and stiffness in the shoulders and arms.


Treatment usually involves a combination of exercises and medication; this will usually involve taking pain relief and anti-inflammatory medicines; muscle relaxants may also be prescribed to reduce tension in the neck muscles. Once the accident has occurred, experts recommend the neck be moved gently as early as possible to prevent it from seizing up (the neck and back should not be moved in the event of a serious accident or if a spinal injury is suspected). Over the course of time, the neck will heal and physiotherapy will help to gradually increase the range of movement and strengthen the tissue surrounding the neck.

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