The most frequent cause for such an injury are vehicle accidents. The impact causes the cervical spine to flip forward and backward vigorously. This will cause muscle strains and in more severe cases hemorrhages and ruptures of ligaments. Pain appears normally the next day and movement of the head are basically impossible.
Occasionally x-rays in flexion and extension can show the extend of the injury however, X-rays do not depict the typical injuries of a whiplash. A clear diagnosis can be made by an orthopedist . In severe cases a neck brace has to be worn as long as necessary. Physiotherapy and other treatments will be prescribed. Warmth often reduces the pain. Correct adjustment of the headrest in a car prevents severe whiplash and more severe injuries as fracture of the cervical spine. Motorcycle helmets do not have this protective property.