Whiplash is a nonmedical term used to describe neck pain following an injury to the soft tissues of your neck (specifically ligaments, tendons, and muscles). It is caused by an abnormal motion or force applied to your neck that causes movement beyond the neck’s normal range of motion.
Whiplash happens in motor vehicle accidents, sporting activities, accidental falls, and assault.
The most frequent cause of whiplash is a car accident. The speed of the cars involved in the accident or the amount of physical damage to the car may not relate to the intensity of neck injury; speeds as low as 15 miles per hour can produce enough energy to cause whiplash in occupants, whether or not they wear seat belts.
- Other common causes of whiplash include contact sport injuries and blows to the head from a falling object or being assaulted.
- Repetitive stress injuries or chronic strain involving the neck (such as using your neck to hold the phone) are a common, non-acute causes.
- Child abuse, particularly the shaking of a child, can also result in this injury as well as in more serious injuries to the child’s brain or spinal cord.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash is a term used most often to describe the symptoms resulting from a car accident. A victim of whiplash may experience any or all of these symptoms:
- Pain in the shoulders
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Pain in one or both arms
- Vision problems
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Poor concentration or memory
- Neck pain/stiffness
- Tight and/or sore muscles
It’s Best to See a Doctor
Even without symptoms, it is a very good idea to see a doctor in the case of a car accident. There can be damage without symptoms, or there can be delayed symptoms. Our doctor can help to determine the location and extent of the damage and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
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