What is Whiplash?
Whiplash injuries are among the most common injuries one experiences as an outcome of a motor vehicle collision. A whiplash injury is defined by sudden or rapid force causing injury to the neck.
According to Rush University Medical Center, it doesn’t take a lot of force for a whiplash injury to occur. In fact, many occur with speeds as low as 5-10 mph. Many people who have suffered some sort of whiplash injury have reported experiencing fatigue, anxiety, upper back pain and shoulder pain at some point after the accident occurred.
What Kind of Injuries Can Whiplash Cause?
The actual injuries can be anything from muscle strains to joint damage - caused by the sudden jerk of the head back and forth. It is during this sudden jerk of the head and neck that discs in the spine can bulge, tear, or rupture. This sort of accident can also cause spinal cord and nerve roots to become stretched, irritated and/or pinched.
This can result in long term nerve damage if left untreated.
It can take months in some cases for symptoms to develop fully and the extent of the injury to become apparent. Getting proper care as soon as possible after suffering from whiplash is essential to healing and not falling subject to lifelong neck pain. Without proper care of such injuries it is said roughly 1 in 10 people still have neck pain years later as a result.
Studies have also shown that five years following the accident, whiplash casualties still have poorer quality of life compared to other mildly injured casualties.
Don't Be Fooled!
Surprisingly, you can still suffer a whiplash injury even if you feel fine directly after the accident or if there is no damage to the vehicle. As stated previously, the threshold for a soft tissue neck injury is only 5 miles per hour. This means that these injuries can be just as severe as injuries sustained going a faster speed.
In many cases you may not think you have been injured after a car accident, but whiplash symptoms tend to sneak up on the victim. The more time that passes between when you were injured and when you seek help the more long-lasting injuries could be with the risk of premature degeneration of your spine. It is very important to be proactive about your care and seek out the right providers before your condition becomes a serious problem!
There are many factors that can affect the extent and severity of a whiplash injury. For example:
- Age can play a role - as the older one gets, muscles become weaker and ligaments become less pliable.
- Small children are also susceptible to greater injury due to their skulls being proportionately larger than their necks compared to adults. Due to this reason, small children do not have as much muscle to help stabilize their neck when in an accident.
- Surprisingly, gender also plays a role in the extent of injury as females tend to have smaller frames. Due to this, females tend to have less muscle mass and thinner necks making them more susceptible to greater injury.
- Additional other factors come into play such as where the vehicle was struck, posture when injury occurred, and whether or not you were aware of the impending accident.
All of these factors can play in when it comes to the severity of a whiplash injury.
What Should I Do If I've Experienced Whiplash?
Even a very minor collision can result in long lasting neck pain if you do not get checked out by the proper provider. Without proper care after experiencing a car accident, the injury is unlikely to heal properly on its own. Receiving an evaluation from a certified credentialed practitioner is the first step to being correctly diagnosed.
If your injuries are not properly addressed, you may experience pain and discomfort in the spine that can last for the rest of your life! This is why it is so important not only that you receive care but that you receive proper care from providers that are trained in this specific type of injury. Don’t fall subject to neck pain for the rest of your life because you did not receive care or did not receive proper care.
Call our injury hotline at (206) 782-9762 and speak to one of our staff to set up an appointment. We will help you find the care you need at no cost to you.