Partner Series
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash refers to an injury resulting from forced movement, such as a car accident.
Credit: Hospital image via Shutterstock

Whiplash describes any injury of the neck's soft tissues resulting from forced movement.

The head's jerking action (not to be confused with the jerk who rear-ended you) pulls muscles and ligaments beyond their typical range of motion , causing fibers to tear. Torn fibers in a muscle or tendon is called a strain, whereas in a ligament it is called a sprain. Whiplash often involves both.

Extreme cases may involve fractured or dislocated bones, too. And if you're the jerk doing the rear-ending, you may experience severe litigation.

Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries. We're also on Facebook & Google+.