Definitely, the most frequent injury caused by automobile accidents is whiplash, amounting up to 80 percent of car crash injuries.
Whiplash is a cervical spine, or neck, injury that is caused when the head is jolted either backwards or forward by acceleration or deceleration. The acceleration or deceleration in automobile accidents is typically abrupt, which will cause the head to jerk unexpectedly and be stretched beyond its normal range of motion, straining the neck’s muscles and ligaments. Whiplash can happen at any speed even when vehicles are traveling as slowly 25 mph.
Severe cases of whiplash can even cause fractures to the neck vertebrae. These accidents might need time off from work and physical activity in order to recover and are painful although a complete recovery is likely.
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Level of Damage from Whiplash
Most commonly, whiplash is the result of a rear-end automobile collision, rather than a side impact or head-on collision, though that is possible. In the vehicle, kinetic energy will keep the bodies moving forward in the event of a car accident. Due to restraints like seat belts, the body will be stopped while the head will continue to be thrown backward. This unnatural movement of the neck leads to hypertension injuries. Depending on the seriousness of the impact and how fast the cars were traveling at the time of the incident, the extent of the whiplash will differ.
Traumatic brain injuries will be caused by the whiplash. A healthcare professional will often perform both a physical examination and an X-ray or CT scan to examine the possibility of whiplash in those who were involved in an auto collision. Doctors monitor and might examine brain function to be able to ascertain whether there was damage or injury to the structures surrounding the neck. With acceleration and deceleration injuries, the brain may swell and cause bruising and bleeding. This can be potentially life-threatening.
Diagnosis: Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Injury
Cervical acceleration or deceleration injuries result in trauma to the deep anterior neck muscles. When a muscle is torn, it is strained. When a ligament is sprained, it is stretched or torn. As the ligaments in the neck are responsible for maintaining a curve of their neck this can be painful. Neck injuries of this sort will involve micro-tears, but hypertension will result in fractures and larger tears. Many vehicle crash victims after healing, will experience what’s known as myospasm. This symptom involves the sudden contraction of the neck muscles. These spasms can be painful.
Front impact crashes have a greater risk of death and serious injury. Whiplash resulting from a collision can cause injury to the cervical spine and hyperextension. Severe strain of this nature can leave a victim suffering from tension headaches, migraines, and even vision problems for some time even after the neck has healed. The extent of the injuries may depend on which type of vehicle the person traveled in. The size of the vehicles can have a tremendous effect on both severity and the nature of the injuries. Airbags are required in vehicles for safety purposes, but they can actually cause injuries because of their impact when deployed.
If you or a loved one were involved in an auto accident, then you may be suffering from the painful side effects of whiplash and cervical spine injuries. The driver who hit on you may have been cited with a violation, but you might be able to take actions and receive the proper healthcare you deserve.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Automobile Accident Injuries
Whiplash, among other automobile accident injuries, are frequently reported by victims of an auto collision, regardless of the severity and grade of the accident. The sheer force of an impact can cause damage or injury to the cervical spine, as well as to the rest of the spine. Whiplash is generally the result of an abrupt, back-and-forth jolt of the head and neck in any direction. Fortunately, a variety of treatments are available to treat automobile accident injuries.
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The information herein on "Whiplash Caused by Acceleration and Deceleration" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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