Whiplash is an injury caused by the neck and head being thrown suddenly backward then forward upon impact. The impact forces the neck and head beyond their normal range of movement, causing tissue damage and pain.
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:
- Pain in the shoulders
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Pain in one or both arms
- 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
It's Best to See a Doctor
Even without symptoms, it is a very good idea to see a doctor in the case of a car accident. There can be damage without symptoms, or there can be delayed symptoms. Your doctor can help to determine the location and extent of the damage and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
According to a study done in 2006 at the Medical College of Wisconsin, whiplash due to a rear end collision can be prevented with positioning of the head close to the headrest.
1. Whiplash. (2005). In MedlinePlus [Web]. National Institute of Health. Retrieved 12 22 2006, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000025.htm
2. Stemper, Brian, Ph.D., Yoganandan, Narayan, Pintar, Frank, (2006).Effect of head restraint backset on head-neck kinematics in whiplash.. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 38, 317-323.
3. Stemper, Brian, Ph.D., Personal Interview and Email Communication. Dec 21 and 22 2006.