In today’s society the word “whiplash” has the misnomer of people associating the term with minor neck ache. This is far from the truth.
A whiplash injury to the neck, also known as a person’s cervical spine, results from a sudden jolt or movement, and therefore this type of injury is common in rear-end automobile collisions. As a person is rear-ended in a car accident, their head snaps back towards the impact initially, then forward towards the front of the car, in a violent jerking motion.
As the person’s head is violently propelled back and forth, injuries can occur to different areas of the cervical spine. These injuries can include bone fractures, and injuries to the cervical disks, ligaments, muscles and nerve roots of the spine.
Symptoms from whiplash injuries include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, a burning and/or tingling sensation in the neck area, and down the shoulder, arms and back. Brain injuries can also occur from whiplash type movements of the neck and head, which may lead to memory loss, loss of concentration, depression, difficulty sleeping, and other cognitive problems.
These head and neck injuries can be life threatening, so it is important to seek medical care immediately after an automobile accident.
Upon seeking medical care after an accident, the emergency room physician will most likely order x-rays of the neck to determine whether a person has sustained bone fractures after a crash.
Another diagnostic test called an MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, is also used to determine whether a person has sustained injuries to the disks located in their cervical spine. Common injuries are disk bulges, protrusions and herniations. Herniations, being the most severe out of the three mentioned, occasionally require surgical intervention to repair.
A disk herniation occurs when the soft tissue inside the disk is extruded. As the soft tissue material is pushed outside the disc space, it can impinge upon nerves exiting the spine towards different parts of the body. When the extruded disk touches or impinges upon the nerves, symptoms such as numbness and tingling, and a burning sensation can occur reaching from the cervical area, through the shoulder region and down a person’s upper extremities, even affecting the fingers.
In order to prevent the severity of whiplash type injuries, it is important that the head restraints / rests be properly positioned. With proper head restraints, a person’s head is better protected from the sudden back and forth movement associated the rear-end accidents. Individuals should check the car manuals of their vehicles for instructions regarding the proper placement of the head restraints to avoid neck injuries.
Attorney J. Erick Santana from the law offices Cecere Santana, PA represents personal injury cases dealing with automobile accidents, slip and falls, dangerous drugs and products; medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, dog bites and other cases relating to personal injury due to the fault of others. He worked for more than seven years for one of the country’s leading insurance companies and is fluent in Spanish. Please send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or you may reach him at (954)653-9969 or toll-free at (800) 75 FL LAW. You may also visit our website at www.helpfortheinjured.com.