Cervical strain and mandibular whiplash: effects upon the craniomandibular apparatus

Clin Prev Dent. Jan-Feb 1989;11(1):29-32.


One of the most common injuries that can lead to a multitude of problems is cervical strain and mandibular whiplash resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Many individuals do not fully recover from such injuries, develop additional areas of pain and dysfunction weeks or months after the accident, and/or sustain major trauma that may require surgical intervention. Other than fractures or dislocations of cervical vertebrae, which are usually easily discerned from radiological analysis, two prime factors frequently lead to a prolongation of pain, a long rehabilitation course, and the development of problems at adjacent structures such as the craniomandibular region. These two factors are: 1) the lack of early comprehensive evaluation and referral for definitive therapeutic intervention, and 2) a minimal awareness of the relationship of upper quarter structures to one another. The purpose of this paper is to foster within the reader an appreciation of the interrelationship of the cervical and craniomandibular architectures as well as the significance of proper evaluation and treatment of cervical strain and mandibular whiplash injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Temporomandibular Joint / injuries*
  • Whiplash Injuries*