Whiplash is the term used to describe neck pain and stiffness following a violent collision; usually a car accident. It can also be accompanied by headaches, dizziness, fatigue, jaw pain (TMJ), and numbness and tingling in the upper extremities. Whiplash, if not treated properly soon after the injury, can set the stage for long-term (chronic) neck problems.

Technically, whiplash occurs when the body is suddenly accelerated then decelerated, which is precisely what happens in a "rear-ender" car accident: upon impact from behind, the torso accelerates rapidly to the same speed as the colliding car. Because of the neck's flexiblity, the head simultaneously arcs backward, injuring soft tissue structures (muscle, ligaments and tendons) around the neck and upper shoulders. When the force of the collision stops (within one second), the torso suddenly stops, but the head accelerates forward and over corrects, causing the neck to sharply flex (bend) forward resulting in further soft tissue injury. In severe cases, ligaments rupture causing joint instability; nerve injury may occur, as well as fractures. Some victims may even experience concussions or subdural hematomas (swelling in cranium).

If you've recently been involved in a car accident and are experiencing unusual symptoms, call for a consultation: 482-4144

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