Whiplash is a term that describes a personal injury to the neck that usually occurs as a result of a “rear-end” car accident. If you’ve ever suffered whiplash before, you know that it is not fun at all. The pain and discomfort can be excruciating, and the symptoms can last for months.
How Whiplash Happens
A rear impact car accident causes movement of the structures within the neck changing the normal curve of the upper back and neck. The sudden backward movement (extension) and forward movement (flexion) can cause the joints of the neck to be injured and can also cause the muscles and ligaments of the neck and upper back to be over-stretched. The neck is particularly vulnerable to this type of injury because of its ability to move in many directions.
How Whiplash is Diagnosed
Even if your neck pain is only mild, you should be examined by a health professional as soon as possible. X-rays may be done to rule out any bone fractures. A CT scan or MRI may also be done if there is concern you have a herniated disc or significant ligament injury. These tests are better able to identify soft tissue injuries than plain radiographs.
Symptoms of Whiplash
The primary symptom of whiplash is neck or upper back pain. The pain can start immediately or develop days, weeks, or sometimes even months later. Symptoms can vary widely among individuals. Some may only suffer minor discomfort while others experience one or more of the following:
Severe whiplash can also include injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerve of the neck or upper back. Fortunately, with time, the vast majority of people who have had a whiplash injury fully recover.
If you were in an auto accident and feel that you have whiplash or any other injuries, contact an attorney.