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Whiplash injury is caused by combination of flexion and extension of soft tissue in the cervical spine,
which involves the muscles, discs, nerves and tendons. Most of the injuries are
caused due to sudden collision. Whiplash injuries occur as result of automobile
collision, sport injury, fall or assaults.
Types of injury
Typical cervical hypertension injury: Body is thrown forward
resulting in hypertension of neck due to head lag. Flexion occurs when the neck
has reached the maximum extension.
Rapid deceleration injury: Head is thrown forward with the flexion
of cervical spine. The longitudinal distraction and neurological damage may
occur due to forward movement causing hypertension in subsequent recoil.
Causes of whiplash injury
Frequent cause of whiplash injury is car accident.
Contact sport injuries
Blows to head from falling object or being assaulted.
Using your neck to hold the phone can cause
repetitive stress injuries or chronic strain.
Child abuse, mostly shaking of the child may result
in serious injuries in child's brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms of whiplash injury
These signs and symptoms may
occur immediately or later. Sooner after the injury the symptoms develop,
greater the chances of serious damage. Most common symptoms are:
Tenderness along the back of the neck
Difficulty in moving the neck around
Pain starting from neck into either shoulder or arm
Weakness, tingling or loss of function in the arms or legs
Sleep disturbance or irritability in young children
Ringing in ears
Concentration or memory problems
Numbness in the arm and/or hand
Lower back pain
Diagnosis of whiplash injury
The symptoms of whiplash may
resemble other conditions. Diagnosis procedure of whiplash include the
Computed Tomography: This technique uses the combination of X-ray
and computer technology to produce a cross-sectional view with detailed image
of the affected parts of the body. Soft tissue near neck may not be visible in
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): It is a diagnostic procedure used
to show the detailed images of organs and structure within the body. This
diagnostic procedure is combination of large magnets, radio frequencies.
Treatment for whiplash injury
Treatment for whiplash injury has
to be determined by the physician based on the following factors ...
Medical condition of the patient.
Patient's past history
Extent of injury
Tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
Overall health and age of the patient.
Various treatments Options
Muscle relaxing medications
Gentle active movement after 24 hours
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Ice applications for the first 24 hours
Oral pain relievers and muscle relaxers
Immobilization of the neck with a soft cervical collar
Prevention of whiplash injury
Whiplash injury can be avoided by
taking necessary precautions.
Wear a seat belt properly and adjust the headrest to
proper height while driving.
Parents need proper counseling and education about
child abuse as it can cause whiplash injuries in children through excessive or