Synopsis: The development of chronic pain and disability following whiplash injury is common and contributes substantially to personal and economic costs related with this condition. Emerging evidence demonstrates the clinical presence of alterations in the sensory and motor systems, including psychological distress in all individuals with a whiplash injury, regardless of recovery. However, individuals who transition to the chronic state present with a more complex clinical picture characterized by the presence of widespread sensory hypersensitivity, as well as significant posttraumatic stress reactions. Based on the diversity of the signs and symptoms experienced by individuals with a whiplash condition, clinicians must take into account the more readily observable/measurable differences in motor, sensory, and psychological dysfunction. The implications for the assessment and management of this condition are discussed. Further review into the pathomechanical, pathoanatomical, and pathophysiological features of the condition also will be discussed.
Level of evidence: Level 5.J