The most frequent cause of whiplash is a car accident. The speed of the cars involved in the accident or the amount of physical damage to the car may not relate to the intensity of neck injury; speeds as low as 15 miles per hour can produce enough energy to cause whiplash in occupants, whether or not they wear seat belts.
- Other common causes of whiplash include contact sport injuries and blows to the head from a falling object or being assaulted.
- Repetitive stress injuries or chronic strain involving the neck (such as using your neck to hold the phone) are a common, non-acute causes.
- Child abuse, particularly the shaking of a child, can also result in this injury as well as in more serious injuries to the child's brain or spinal cord.