Whiplash

The term “Whiplash” was first used in 1928 to define an injury mechanism of sudden extension followed by an immediate flexion of the neck that results in damage to the muscles, ligaments and tendons – especially those that support the head.  

Due to their complicated nature and profound impact on peoples lives, few topics in healthcare generate as much controversy as whiplash injuries. Unlike a broken bone where a simple x-ray can validate the presence of the fracture and standards of care can direct a health care professional as to the best way in which to handle the injury, whiplash injuries involve an unpredictable combination of nervous system, muscles joints and connective tissue disruption that is not simple to diagnose and can be even more of a challenge to treat. Many whiplash injuries occur during a car wreck, but  they can also occur when a football player is tackled, during a fall, when skiing, any time the head is thrown backwards and forward rapidly.

In fact, all four phases of a whiplash injury occur in less than one-half of a second. At each phase, there is a different force acting on the body that contributes to the overall injury, and with such a sudden and forceful movement, damage to the vertebrae, nerves, discs, muscles, and ligaments of your neck and spine can be substantial.

Whiplash injuries can manifest in a wide variety of ways, including neck pain, headaches, fatigue, upper back and shoulder pain, cognitive changes and low back pain.  

Due to the fact that numerous factors play into the overall whiplash trauma, such as direction of impact, speed of the vehicles involved, as well as gender, age and physical condition, it is impossible to predict the pattern of symptoms that each individual will suffer. Whiplash symptoms commonly have a delayed onset, often taking days to weeks to begin. These are a number of conditions that are very common among those who have suffered from whiplash trauma.

But if caught early enough recovery from whiplash is available.