Car Accident Whiplash
Whiplash is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a neck injury due to a forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip. This injury occurs most commonly in motor vehicle accidents when the vehicle is at rest and is impacted by the movement of another vehicle from behind. It is thought that the action of the rear impact forces the neck and head to move in a backward position while the person’s seat is thrust forward and pushing the person’s torso forward and resulting in the individual’s neck and head to fall in a backward motion. Then the neck and head are thrown into a forward motion several moments after the initial vehicle impact.
Recent studies involving crash test dummies and highly advanced cameras with increased high-speed functions show that as a result of this whipping movement of the head and neck, the lower bones of the neck are hyperextended while the upper bones of the neck are hyperflexed. This abnormal S-shape motion can cause damage to the ligaments, facet capsules and muscles of the cervical spine.
Common symptoms related to whiplash may include:
- Arm Pain/Weakness
- Back Pain
- Ear Ringing
- Jaw Pain
- Neck Pain/Stiffness
- Shoulder Pain/Stiffness
- Visual Disturbances
Symptoms of chronic and severe cases of “Whiplash Associated may include:
- Drug Dependency
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,
- Sleep Interruption/Insomnia
Timely medical diagnosis and treatment is essential in recovering from whiplash. Those afflicted with this injury may improve within a few weeks with the help of physical therapy, home exercise and pain medication. Sufferers of chronic neck pain may have long-lasting complications requiring long-term medication and treatment.