Childr Health Information

Cervical Strains

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Topic: General Child Health

This handout was written to answer some questions most often asked about cervical strains (commonly known as whiplash) and the course of recovery. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to explain any information you do not understand.

Most often a cervical strain is caused by a sudden acceleration (moving forward) of the body while the head remains in the same place. The head and neck are jerked backwards. This can be caused by a rear-end car collision, fall, athletic injury or assault. The energy created in less that 1 second in a 5 mile per hour collision could equal 5 G’s or five times the pull of gravity. This energy’s effect on the body can cause straining of the neck muscles and spraining or stretching of the ligaments in the neck. Before sending your child home, the physician will examine your child to determine there are no injuries to the nerves or bones of the neck. This examination may include x-rays of the neck. When x-rays are taken, they will be reviewed by a radiologist (physician who specializes in reading xrays).

Your child may have some neck pain. Pain may not occur right away, but symptoms generally develop within several hours of the injury and peak within 24 hours. Treatment for your child will be individualized to your child’s injury and their tolerance of the types of treatment recommended. Your child may have restrictions in his/her activity when released from the hospital.
• Cervical Collar - Your child may be fitted in a cervical collar or neck brace to help the muscles support the head without further strain. This will depend on the extent of your child’s injury and their ability to tolerate a collar.
• Use of heat or ice - If ice is recommended, use ice packs for 35-minutes at a time, up to four times a day for the first two-three days. Do not apply the ice pack directly to the skin. Place a towel between the ice pack and skin. If heat is recommended, use a warm, wet washcloth and apply a dry towel over it to insulate the moist cloth.
• If pain medicine is prescribed, give the medication as directed. Do not withhold medicine ordered “as needed” until the pain is severe.
• If no medicine was prescribed you may give your child:
Tylenol® or acetaminophen (15 mg/kg) ____________ mg every four hours up to five doses a day.
Motrin® or Ibuprofen (10gm/kg) ____________ mg every six hours.

Contact your child’s physician or return to the emergency department for:
• increased pain
• tingling
• numbness
• child seems afraid or does not want to move to move his/her arms or legs
• any questions or concerns you have

PDF: Cervical Strains

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 2005

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 2005


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