What Is Whiplash?
One of the most common injuries to occur in the course of a motor vehicle accident is a syndrome commonly known as whiplash. Cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome, or whiplash, occurs when the head and neck are unexpectedly propelled forward at a high rate of speed. This violent motion causes significant strain on the neck and upper spine, and the result can be excruciatingly painful for those affected.
According to the Mayo Clinic, car wrecks are the most common source of whiplash injuries. Whiplash is especially prevalent in individuals that have been hit from behind, because the force of the collision propelled them forward, while their seatbelt snapped them back into place. While whiplash is sometimes immediately painful, the symptoms of whiplash may develop over the course of hours or even days. These symptoms include shooting neck pain, stiffness, limited range of motion, and severe headaches that radiate from the base of the skull.
Recovering from a whiplash injury can take time. According to the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists, symptoms of whiplash can linger for months, even with proper treatment. The most common method of treating whiplash is a continuing course of ice and heat therapy, accompanied by rest and pain medicine. In more severe cases, many doctors will prescribe injections and physical therapy. If not properly managed, whiplash can lead to chronic pain and disability.
Whiplash is a serious condition, and it is not something to take lightly. If you have been involved in a car wreck and experience neck pain, stiffness, dizziness, headaches, or limited mobility, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.