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Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Of Whiplash Injury


Whiplash is a common injury that is mostly mistreated or ignored owing to the lack of awareness and understanding. It usually occurred due to rear impact while in a stationary position. The term whiplash injury refers to damage to both the soft tissues and bone structures whereas whiplash associated disorders refer to more severe and chronic condition. Early diagnose and exercises enhance the chances of recovery than persistent immobilization or use of a cervical collar. If the patient is not properly educated and treated then this injury can lead to enduring psychosocial symptoms like anxiety and depression. It is fortunate fact that whiplash is not a life-threatening injury however it can result in a long period of partial disability. The economic expenses like medical care, litigation, and lost productivity can exceed 30 billion dollars a year in the USA.

Cause of the whiplash injury.

One of the most common causes of the whiplash injury is a motor vehicle accident. In a whiplash injury, the accident occurs in such way that the person in the car is not moving and is struck by another car/vehicle from behind. As mentioned above, the most common cause of the whiplash injury is a rear impact, because in this condition the head and neck of the person are forced into the backward or hyperextended position as the seat pushes the person’s forward. Recent studies have shown that after the rear impact the lower bones of the neck are forced into a position of hyperextension while the upper bones of the neck come in a position of hyperflexed. This causes abnormal motion and severe damage to the soft tissues.

Common symptoms of whiplash

These are the common symptoms of the whiplash.

  • A Headache.
  • Stiffness and pain in the neck.
  • Pain in shoulders and stiffness in the shoulders.
  • The patient will feel fatigue and dizziness.
  • Pain in the jaw is also a common symptom.
  • Disturbance in eyesight.
  • Severe pain in the back.
  • And ringing in the ears

In addition to this, the patient may also suffer from depression, frustration, anger, and anxiety because of insomnia and constant sufferings.

Treatment of the whiplash injury.

Treatment of the whiplash injury depends upon the nature and severity of the injury. First of all, the patient should be given proper information and awareness about this injury. The patient should be guided about the causes, outcomes and possible treatment. Those who are not given proper information they become more prone to the more chronic whiplash associated disorder. Initially, this injury was treated with a soft cervical collar for several weeks. The aim of the collar was to reduce the motion of the neck and to avert any other injury. But the most recent study has proven that this method of treatment is actually more detrimental than useful. It slows down the process of healing by creating stiffness and atrophy in the muscles. The stiffness of muscles is caused owing to decreased blood flow to the damaged tissues. Therefore, physical therapy is recommended to the patients to help strengthen damaged muscles.

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