Whiplash- Symptoms

August 30th, 2009
  • Pain and Stiffness in your neck for the first few days following a whiplash injury.  Then you feel better, but the pain and stiffness may return several days later.  The discomfort may involve muscle groups in you neck, chest shoulders and arms. 
  • Neck Pain and/or Stiffness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Irritability and Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pain between the Shoulder Blades, Pain in the arms or legs, feet and hands
  • Nausea
  • Ringing in the Ears
  • Vertigo
  • Pain in the Jaw or the Mouth
  • Headache

Whiplash- Defined

August 26th, 2009

An injury to the neck (the cervical vertebrae) resulting from rapid acceleration or deceleration (as in an automobile accident).  This type of motion strains the muscles and the ligaments of the neck beyond their normal range of motion. Whiplash often occurs when a vehicle stops suddenly in a car crash or is struck from behind.  Either of these two actions causes things in the vehicle to be thrown forward – including passengers. A seat belt will keep a person’s body from being thrown forward, but the head may accelerate forward, then backward, causing a whiplash injury.  In addition to car accidents, whiplash can be caused by roller coasters and other amusement park rides, sports injuries, or being punched or shaken.  (Whiplash is one of the hallmarks of shaken baby syndrome).

The First Week after Whiplash

August 21st, 2009

If you or a friend or loved one has been involved in an automobile accident, here’s what you should know about your health.


1.      Even a minor accident can cause injury.  Never assume that you are not injured just because there is little or no damage to your car.  Seek professional care immediately. 


2.      If a paramedic suggests you go to the emergency room, don’t decline.  You may be suffering from shock, and will be unable to properly judge the situation.  Even the smallest fracture in your spine can be very serious! 


3.      Muscle aches, soreness, headaches and other symptoms associated with whiplash injuries may not show up until 24-72 hours after the accident.   The sooner you seek treatment, the less likely it will be that you will have severe pain or permanent damage. 


4.      Studies show that ICE applied immediately to the injured area will help keep swelling and pain to a minimum.

Whiplash when no damage to Car?

August 16th, 2009

Don’t minimize your own injuries because your car has sustained little or no damage.  It has been proven that a 5 mph impact can result in soft tissue injury.  Signs and symptoms from a whiplash type injury can be many and vary in severity.  The most common symptom is neck pain, which may take a few hours to begin due to the adrenaline rush.  Headaches are the second most common symptom, 85% of all headaches are tension headaches, and we know after the above description of an accident we would have tension.  Do not let these signs and symptoms go for a long period of time, because pain is an indication that something is wrong and just blocking the pain will not fix the problem.  A thorough evaluation would be required to identify the problem and to determine the treatment you need.  You have to restore proper motion with in the neck, in order to allow the muscles and ligaments of your neck to repair and heal.  Don’t wait or think, my accident wasn’t that bad, seek proper care.

What to expect when you’ve had Whiplash

August 12th, 2009

You’re in your car, relaxed, waiting and suddenly you hear the screeching of tires.  In that split second and before you can brace yourself, you feel the car lunge forward.  You’ve been rear-ended.  What happens in this brief moment can surprise you and what you do about it in the next few hours, days, and weeks can and will affect your future health. 


Upon impact, your body pushes deeply into the seat.  Your head, momentarily isolated by your neck, delays its reaction while your body quickly reaches the limits of the seat.  Then, your body instantly changes directions, moving forward to the limits of your seat belt.  Now, your head starts moving backward in the opposite direction.  Unrestrained by a seat belt your head is jerked back and forward beyond its normal limits.  Your head is always going opposite of your body.  What happens when you hold a piece of paper and move your hands in opposite directions, it tears. This is exactly how we can tear the ligaments and muscles of the neck.  Everything is happening in slow motion, yet you are unable to prevent your head from whipping back and forth. 


How can we minimize our injuries in a rear-end collision, we must be restrained by a seat belt this obviously prevents severe injuries and excessive forward motion of your body.  The second crucial factor is the position of the headrest.  It has to be no more than 1 inch away from the back of your head and the height has to extend above the top of your head.  With the proper positioning the headrest can prevent excessive backward motion.  If the position is incorrect the headrest actually adds to the problem by creating a fulcrum, which allows your head extend over the top and increases the stretching of ligaments and muscle tissue in the front of your neck.  

Your neck in an Car Accident

August 7th, 2009

Phase I-


  1. Your back pushes agains seatback. 
  2. Straightening of the spine due to pushing back in spine


Phase 2-


  1. Subjects upper torso reaches maximum straigtening, and the head is moving backward PARALLEL to the torso, the neck and torso start to form an S-shaped formation
  2. Straightening of the spine and “ramping up” motion occurr which causes compression forces
  3. Shear forces start to increase gradually. 
  4. The neck is at maximum extension
  5. SCM muscles start to activate

What to do if you get in an accident?

August 3rd, 2009
 •Exchange insurance & contact information with other driver(s)
•Document driver’s license number of other driver
•Document the license plate number of the other vehicle
•Call the local or state police department
•Get names of all witnesses
•Document all damages to your vehicle
•Draw a picture of the accident while it is fresh in your mind
•List all important factors to the accident (including if the other person was running a light, speeding, talking on a cell phone, etc.)