Whiplash results in strains and sprains of the muscles and ligaments of the neck

Whiplash, or cervical acceleration / deceleration disorder (CAD), resultls in sprains and strains of the muscles and ligaments of the neck.

The mechanisms of whiplash trauma are complex and highly variable. Such factors as the wide range of sitting postures, physical make-ups, seat back and head restraint designs and adjustments, along with the almost infinite variety of collision variables make the condition difficult to treat effectively.

Whiplash is seen most often following motor vehicle crash where the head and neck of the victim is suddenly hyperextended followed by hyperflexed. It is these extreme and sudden changes in head and neck position where tissue damage can occur and symptoms ensue.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with an overview of whiplash, how to identify it, and how to treat it.

What is Whiplash?

Here’s an article from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke dealing with the cause, treatment, and prognosis of whiplash injury.

What is Whiplash?
Whiplash-a soft tissue injury to the neck-is also called neck sprain or neck strain. It is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck, usually because of sudden extension and flexion. The disorder commonly occurs as the result of an automobile accident and may include injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots. Symptoms such as neck pain may be present directly after the injury or may be delayed for several days. In addition to neck pain, other symptoms may include neck stiffness, injuries to the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries), headache, dizziness, abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling (paresthesias), or shoulder or back pain. In addition, some people experience cognitive, somatic, or psychological conditions such as memory loss, concentration impairment, nervousness/irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, or depression.

Is there any treatment for whiplash?
Treatment for individuals with whiplash may include pain medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and a cervical collar (usually worn for 2 to 3 weeks). Range of motion exercises, physical therapy, and cervical traction may also be prescribed. Supplemental heat application may relieve muscle tension.

What is the prognosis for whiplash injury?
Generally, prognosis for individuals with whiplash is good. The neck and head pain clears within a few days or weeks. Most patients recover within 3 months after the injury, however, some may continue to have residual neck pain and headaches.
(Read the full article)

Causes and Symptoms of Whiplash

About.com lists some of the causes and symptoms associated with whiplash in this article.

Causes of Whiplash:

  • Rear-end car collisions
  • Other types of car accidents
  • A sports injury
  • Shaken baby syndrome (which is child abuse)

Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash is a term used most often to describe the symptoms resulting from a car accident. A victim of whiplash may experience any or all of these symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Pain in the shoulders
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Poor concentration or memory
  • Neck pain/stiffness
  • Tight and/or sore muscles
  • Tenderness in the muscles
  • Low back pain
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Loss of motion in the neck

(Full article here)

Whiplash Injury Video

Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, Professor and Chairman Department of Orthopedic Surgery University of Toledo Medical Center, presents a video explaining the mechanism of injury and treatment methods dealing with whiplash injury.

Whiplash Injury Animation – Everything You Need to Know – MD

Do you have questions about how to ease neck pain from a whiplash injury? Maybe you you’ve dealt with whiplash now or in the past. In any event, leave a comment below or ask a question. Your input may help someone else.

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