What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a non-medical term used to describe neck pain. Doctors often diagnose people with more specific injuries such as cervical sprain, cervical strain or hyper flexion injury, but all of these can be categorized as whiplash. Whiplash is an injury caused by the neck and head being thrown suddenly backward then forward upon impact, such as in a car crash. The impact forces the neck and head beyond their normal range of movement, causing tissue damage and persistent pain.

Many people suffering from whiplash have other, more serious injuries from the impact as well. Brain injuries are often diagnosed with neck injuries because the rapid movement of the neck can injure the brain.

For example, coup contrecoup brain injuries are caused by the same back and forth rocking of the spine that causes neck injuries. In those cases, the force of the impact pushes the brain into the skull where it bounces and hits the opposite side of the skull. The rigid, bony structure of the skull can bruise and tear the soft brain tissue, leaving permanent damage.

Additionally, pain, tingling and numbness in the upper extremities (hands and arms) can be associated with whiplash. The nerves which send and receive signals from the brain to the hands are protected by the cervical spinal canal, or as we often call them, the neck bones. When any of these bones or the discs between them are damaged, they can put pressure on the nerves and cause pain to run through the arms. For more on how nerves and the spine are connected, click here.

Whiplash may sound like a simple sore neck after an accident, but it could also be a sign of more extensive injury. Be sure to seek medical treatment immediately after any neck injury. We understand how stressful it can be to deal with mounting medical expenses, that’s why we don’t charge you to discuss your case. In fact, you only pay us a portion of the settlement or verdict we recover for you.

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Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.