One of the most common injuries, particularly related to motor vehicle accidents, is whiplash. More than three million new cases of whiplash are reported every year. A whiplash injury dramatically increases your risk of chronic shoulder and neck pain. What is whiplash, what are its causes and symptoms?
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a serious neck injury that may involve strain or sprain of neck and/shoulder muscles. In many cases of whiplash, there is also inflammation and trauma to nerves and nerve endings, disc injury, torn ligaments and tissue damage.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash stems from a sudden and forceful snapping of your head backward and forward. It is customarily associated with sudden stops or impact, including motor vehicle accidents, contact sports and physical assaults.
What Are the Warning Signs of Whiplash?
There are many symptoms of whiplash, which usually start to appear within 24 hours:
- Headaches, typically at the base of the skull
- Stiff neck
- Increased neck pain with movement
- Numbness or tingling in arms or extremities
- Loss of range of motion in neck or shoulders
- Tenderness in arms, shoulders or upper back
Other indications of a potential case of whiplash look a bit like a concussion:
- A ringing in your ears
- Short or long-term memory problems
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Challenges with concentration
- Blurred vision
- Depression or irritability
With some whiplash sufferers, the symptoms abate in a matter of weeks. Others may experience frequent discomfort for months or years.
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