The term whiplash is most often used to describe a cervical strain that occurs as the result of a car accident. Cervical strains from car accidents most commonly occur in a “rear end” type of motor vehicle accident.
Whiplash injuries are commonly stereotyped as suspect or trivial injuries, but cervical strains are legitimate injuries and should be taken seriously.
Research done by the Biomechanics Laboratory at Yale University in New Haven and research done with live human volunteers offers some insight into how the neck is injured in an impact causing a whiplash injury.
Per the results of these studies, shortly after the impact, the spine undergoes what appears to be an S shaped curve rather than the normal C shape. The lower part of the spine is bent backward and the upper part is bent forward, both beyond the normal range of motion, causing over extension and injury of the neck muscles.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- neck pain
- limited range of motion
Less common symptoms can include:
- trouble sleeping
- ringing in the ears
- trouble with concentration
Symptoms may not present themselves right away, but they often appear within 24 hours.