What image pops into your mind when someone says the word “whiplash?”

If you’re like most people, the image is of a neck brace, and the first thing you think of when you hear the term is “car accident.”

It’s no surprise, really. Auto accidents are indeed the leading cause of the injury, but the simple truth is that you can get whiplash from a variety of other sources as well.

Before we get to that, it’s important to take a moment to explain exactly what whiplash is.

In the simplest terms, it’s a type of neck injury that results when your head and neck are suddenly and unexpectedly jolted forward, then backward with considerable force.

The force of the movement puts tremendous strain on the muscles of your neck, which causes the soreness and makes it difficult to turn your head for a considerable period of time until those muscles have had a chance to heal and recover.

Based on that description, it’s easy to see how many other activities could potentially cause the condition.

Horseback riding is an example, especially if you’re riding at full gallop. Horses don’t come with shock absorbers after all, and that repetitive bucking and rolling motion can easily be of sufficient force to make your neck unexpectedly sore after a ride.

The same is true from, say, falling off of a bicycle. Granted, if you’re wearing a helmet, that’s going to minimize the chance of serious head trauma or concussion, but the helmet does absolutely nothing in terms of preventing the whipping motion of your head itself, which is where the pain in your neck ultimately comes from.

For that matter, any type of trip or fall can potentially lead to whiplash. It all depends on how violently your head was forced back and forth during the course of your fall.

The good news is that whiplash is easily treatable, and your chiropractor can recommend a reliable course of treatment that will have you feeling better in no time, so don’t ignore that pain in your neck – you don’t have to just live with it!