Acute whiplash

Most people who experience a whiplash injury in a car crash recover within days or weeks.

Whiplash is when the head moves suddenly in one direction and then back quickly.

This movement can result in bony or soft tissue injuries (a whiplash injury), leading to a variety of symptoms, such as neck pain, headaches, dizziness.

Whiplash is the most common injury we see among people claiming under CTP insurance. Of all the claims lodged since 2007, 46 per cent of people had a whiplash injury.

Resources you can use to help adults recover from whiplash

Whiplash guidelines

The third edition of our whiplash guidelines for the management of acute whiplash-associated disorders for health professionals (guidelines) was published in December 2014.

The guidelines translate the current evidence base into clinical practice recommendations for the best possible management of adults with a whiplash injury in the first 12 weeks.

In preparing these guidelines, we worked with a group of healthcare professionals, industry representatives and technical experts, who reviewed the evidence and drafted the recommendations.

Technical report

The technical report to the whiplash guidelines contains information about the research and methodology used to create the recommendations.

Quick reference guide

The quick reference guide for the management of acute whiplash associated disorders summarises the recommendations of the guidelines. It uses traffic lights to easily identify treatments that are recommended based on the strength of the clinical evidence.

Whiplash: a summary for health professionals

This summary contains information to help health professionals and general practitioners to diagnose and manage whiplash injuries in adults.

Whiplash fact sheet

This fact sheet contains information for people with whiplash to help them recovery in the first 12 weeks.

Whiplash assessment tools

A number of assessment tools for assessing and diagnosing whiplash have been extracted from the Guidelines.

Whiplash neck exercises

Examples of neck exercises recommended in the Guidelines to restore movement and muscle control around the neck and to reduce unnecessary postural strain and muscle pain. This page contains written instructions and videos demonstrating the exercises.

Use this free online tool to create an individualised exercise program for people with a whiplash injury.

Whiplash educational slide set

We have created an educational slide set to support health professionals and CTP insurers implement the Guidelines for the management of acute whiplash-associated disorders.

Industry publications

The Medical Observer published an article written by Professor Simon Willcock called whiplash: facts at your fingertips. The article is an opinion piece about the new whiplash guidelines and how these can be used in general practice.

In addition Medical Observer recently published an article called whiplash in primary care. It provides GPs with information about contemporary approaches to the assessment, diagnosis and management of patients presenting with a whiplash injury .

Professor Simon Willcock is a General Practitioner and is the Director of Primary Care Services, Macquarie University Hospital. He was a subject matter expert appointed by us to the whiplash Guidelines working group.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association flagship publication, InMotion, published an article new whiplash guidelines for physiotherapists written by Dr Trudy Rebbeck, FACP, and Professor Michele Sterling, FACP.

Resources people recovering from whiplash can use

Our injury advice centre has advice for people with a whiplash injury.