“Whiplash” is the common name given to an injury in which there is hyperextension (increased backward motion), hyperflexion (increased forward motion) injury to the cervical (neck) spine. Its name comes from the fact that the spine is held in the mid back by attachment to the rib cage. Any movement, therefore, to which the spine may be subjected, as in the case of an auto accident, or severe fall, commonly result in the neck being (whipped) injured.
A typical example of a common injury to the neck region is illustrated in the rear-end collision. The driver, not suspecting such an incident, is relaxed. The force from behind causes the head to quickly flip backwards and then thrust forward by the deceleration (quick stopping) motion.
This type of rapid movement and the manner in which the head is thrust about has been termed “whiplash”. Many injuries of this nature are not immediately felt by the injured person. Authorities estimate that the injuries may not be felt for several hours or even years following the incident.
Examples of reaction from an injury of this nature could be: headaches, visual disturbance, stiffness of the neck, restriction of movement, shoulder, neck, and arm pain, and neuralgia, to name a few.
Due to the nature of “whiplash” injuries, the victim is often unaware that he/she has been injured. Often times from 12 to 24 hours after the accident they realize something is wrong. Therefore, many victims attempt to treat the neck injury with home remedies, increasing the possibility of further injury.
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