Fifty-two patients underwent MR imaging and conventional radiography of the neck within 4 days after a hyperextension-flexion injury. The patients also had follow-up investigations during the first 2 years. The images did not reveal any serious lesions in any of them. Based on the main MR and radiographical findings the patients were divided into 4 groups; no findings, posture abnormalities, spondylosis and disc pathology (from MR images) or reduced intervertebral space (from the radiographs). The outcomes of the different groups were compared with reference to neck stiffness, neck pain and headache during a 2-year follow-up period. The patient groups did not correspond completely when diagnosed from MR imaging and radiography. However, patients with pre-existing spondylosis had more symptoms when examined by both modalities. Based on the radiographs, the group with posture abnormalities had significant fewer symptoms than the other groups.