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Our Services



Cancer Pain




Minimally Invasive Pain Procedure

Back Pain


Contact Information


Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre,

Suite 08-01,

3 Mount Elizabeth,

Singapore 228510


Tel: (+65) 67334344

Fax: (+65) 67334244

Operating Hours:

Monday to Friday – 9am to 5pm

Saturday – 9am to 1pm




(1) What is whiplash injury?


Whiplash injury is defined as “an acceleration-deceleration” mechanism of energy transferred to the neck usually as a result of a motor vehicle accident.


(2) How common is the problem?


Whiplash injury is common after traffic collisions.  There maybe as many as 200-300 per 100,000 in the population seen at the emergency department every year for this problem. 


(3) What are the clinical presentations after whiplash injury?


The onset of pain can occur immediately after the accident or may be delayed for up to 12 hours.  Patient would usually complain of neck pain, neck stiffness, headache, shoulder pain and arm pain.  Other common complains include tiredness, dizziness, light-phobia, pain over the temporomandibular joint and back pain.


Psychologically, some patients may develop post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia. There maybe some association between the level of psychological distress and the continuation of the symptoms after whiplash injury.


Approximately up-to one third of those with whiplash injury will develop into a complex presentation.  These include widespread pain in the neck region and also in the lower limbs, marked loss of neck movement, spinal cord hyperexcitability and non-responsiveness to standard physical therapy such as exercises.


(4) What are the pathophysiology /changes associated with whiplash injury?


What happens to the body after a whiplash injury is not entirely clear.  There appeared to be changes in various parts of the body to result in the final clinical presentation after a whiplash injury.  Firstly, there is evidence that the cervical spine structure is affected, especially at the facet joints.  Also there are changes in the sensory system which augment the way pain is perceived by the brain. In addition, there are disturbance in muscle function and its control, which explain the reason of loss of balance and dizziness in some patients.


(5) How is whiplash injury diagnosed and treated? 


The diagnosis of whiplash injury is based on patient self-report of symptoms.  There are no diagnostic criteria for whiplash injury. Imaging studies is also not useful in the majority of the cases except in cases with suspected fracture or dislocation.


Treatment of whiplash injury would involve education of patient, reassurance and instructions to maintain activity levels.  It is critical to prescribe functional exercises to maintain range of motion and also for muscle re-education. 


Psychological support is important especially for patient who had developed post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic whiplash injury.


In selected cases, interventional procedure such as facet joint radiofrequency neurotomy may be offered.


(6) What is the long-term outcome after whiplash injury?


Most recovery after whiplash injury occurs within the first 3 months.  The recovery tends to plateau after that.  The most consistent predictor of poor recovery is high level of initial pain and /or disability.  Unfortunately a large proportion of patients with whiplash injury (can be up to 60%) still developed persistent mild to severe neck pain and /or disability.



For more information, please feel free to contact us at (65) 6733 4344 or email us at




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