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November 16 2012


Bits of Info about Whiplash

Accidents happen unexpectedly. Whiplash injury refers to a range of neck injuries caused by an abrupt movement of the head backwards, forwards and sideways.

Road Traffic accidents or motor vehicle accidents are the most common causes of whiplash. Car accidents usually involve a sudden force that makes the head forwards, backwards and sideways. There are also instances when it happens at a low speed. Other causes of the injury can be due to a swift blow to the head like contact sports (e.g. boxing and football); a slip and fall; or being hit on the head by an object.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment:

A person who suffers from this injury may experience neck pain and swelling, loss of movement, headaches, and tenderness along the back of the neck. Other symptoms may include dizziness, tiredness, muscle spasms, lower back pain, pain or numbness in the arms and hands, blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, tinnitus and vertigo. It can also cause memory loss, irritability or poor concentrations. Symptoms of the injury are not always evident right after the accident. Sometimes it becomes apparent after a few hours, days or even weeks.

The National Health Services (NHS) classified the injury into two: Acute and Chronic Whiplash.

•    Acute – It happens when there is a swift rotation of the neck that causes pain and other symptoms. Active intervention, like neck exercise, is an effective treatment rather than inactive intervention, like resting the neck or using a neck brace. It has been said resting the neck for a longer period may prolong the symptoms and delay the recovery. It can also be treated through medication and physiotherapy.

•    Chronic - Symptoms last for more than six months after acute whiplash injury and shows symptoms like persistent headache, neck and pain stiffness, dizziness, paraesthesia (pricking or tingling on the skin), and psychological or emotional problems like depression and anxiety. Treatment for this kind of injury is by keeping the neck mobile and continuing normal activities. The type of painkiller that should be taken for the injury depends on the severity of the pain.

Initially, this condition can be diagnosed by describing to the doctor all the symptoms that appear after the accident. The GP may recommend a series of physical examinations like X-Ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI and Computerized Tomography (CT) scan if there is a an occurrence of spinal injury. It is vital for the injured person to seek medical help after the accident to avoid any complications.
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