After being involved in an accident, it is possible to sustain whiplash injuries. The injuries may seem to be of minor nature in the beginning. Whiplash injuries take weeks or even months to develop. People do not seek prompt medical attention after an accident for minor injuries. This is where the problem lies. Whiplash injury is usually an injury to the neck. Whiplash is caused due to sudden movement in the head which causes injuries to the associated ligaments, tissues and muscles in the neck and back. There are different phases of whiplash injury.
Phase 1of Whiplash
The accident can cause your head to move backwards, your back gets flattened to the seat. This causes an upward force in the cervical spine which compresses the discs and joints and force in the neck.
Phase 2 of Whiplash
While the accident is happening, your torso is pushed forward as your seat recoils forward and an s shape is formed in your cervical spine. This causes immense force in your neck and this is a damaging part in a whiplash injury. Injuries to the bone, joints, nerves and disc happens at this stage.
Phase 3 of Whiplash
In this phase, your head and neck are now moving forward at an accelerated pace while your torso is moving back down to the seat. Applying the breaks again will slow down the car further causing severe injury to the neck.
Phase 4 of Whiplash
This is the most severe and damaging phase of the whiplash injury. Whiplash injuries can take in the form of pain in the neck, headaches, chronic fatigue, shoulder pain and upper and lower back pain and also changes in cognitive abilities. There are several factors that play a role in whiplash injury, like direction and severity of impact, speed while driving, gender, age and health of the victim. Based on these factors it is possible to measure the outcome and the symptoms of whiplash. Whiplash injury may take time to manifest but there are some common conditions that will be experienced by the victim.
Neck Pain from Whiplash Trauma
Victims of whiplash trauma will commonly report neck pain which spreads to the shoulder, head and the shoulder blades. Whiplash injuries damages the tissues and supporting muscles and ligaments of the neck and even the nerves. Pain in the facet joints is often reported in whiplash trauma due to an accident. The pain is usually felt in the back of the neck and will be tender. X-rays and MRI scan detect this. Disc injury is a common reason for neck pain. Abnormal movement and instability while moving can result due to damaged ligaments.
Headaches from Whiplash Trauma
Apart from neck pain, headaches are also commonly reported by patients. Headaches could be due to brain injury resulting from the accident but usually it happens because of the damage to the ligaments, muscles and facet joints of the cervical spine. Treatment of the structure of the neck can prevent headaches.
Dizziness due to Whiplash Trauma
Damage to the facet joints of the cervical spine can cause dizziness. Injuries to the brain or the stem of the brain can also cause dizziness. However, this dizziness is temporary and can be effectively treated with chiropractic techniques.
Low Back Pain due to Whiplash Injury
Usually whiplash trauma can cause injury and pain in the neck, the lower back is also effected. Lower back pain is mostly reported where there was rear impact collision. During the accident, the lower back experiences an immense compression during the first and second phase of whiplash injury. Even if there is no flexion-extension injury reported in the neck.
- Whiplash Trauma can cause symptoms to develop very slowly.
- Phase 1 of whiplash damages the nerves, ligaments, disc and muscles of the neck and spine.
- Phase 2 causes injuries to the bone, joints and nerves.
- Phase 3 causes severe injury to the flexion of the neck.
- Phase 4 can be the most severe and damaging phase.
- There are several factors that govern the degree of symptoms experienced.
- Neck pain is common in patients suffering from whiplash trauma.
- Headaches are also common in whiplash injuries.
- Pain in the lower back arises due to the neck being affected.
- Dizziness is also not uncommon.
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