The marriage of engineers who understand kinematics (joint motion) and technology is taking place more and more. For example, researchers at the Biomechanics Research Lab at Yale School of Medicine offer us a peek into whiplash injuries.
They used high-speed digital cameras along with motion-tracking software to study neck motion during rear-impact injuries. They were able to find what speed and force cause injury at different levels of the spine. In general a lower force can cause damage to the joint and neck ligaments in the upper neck (C4-5). A higher force is needed to injure the lower neck (C6-7).
They found joint compression was the most common injury with lower impact forces. When the joint is pressed together by force, the lining of the joint is at risk for injury. The body's response to this is pain and inflammation, which may be what happened in your case.