While whiplash may sound like a minor injury, it can seriously impact your everyday life for years to come and can result even if the underlying accident was minor with no damage to any vehicles involved. In fact, whiplash is a common result of low speed, low impact, and rear-end collisions.
Whiplash injuries most commonly occur due to a rear-end collision. When your car is rear-ended, the force of the impact can push your neck and spine abruptly into an abnormal and unhealthy alignment. Whiplash effects the cervical spine, which extends from the base of the skull down to your upper back, by forcing it into an S-shaped curve.
Normally, the cervical spine rests in a C-shaped curve, but the force of a rear-end collision can push the lower part of your cervical spine to bend backwards and the upper part of your cervical spine to bend forward simultaneously, creating an S-shape. Additionally, the lower part of the cervical spine extends far beyond its healthy range of motion, increasing the likelihood of damage to ligaments and discs.
When your brain senses an impact, it sends signals to tense and prepare the muscles around the cervical spine for possible trauma in an effort to prevent or mitigate the damage of a whiplash injury. If you can stabilize your neck effectively, you may be able to lessen or negate the damage from a rear-end collision. Therefore, anyone with weakened neck muscles, another underlying injury, improper posture, or no or delayed awareness of an incoming impact has a greater chance of having neck pain after a car accident.
Women involved in rear-end collisions are at a greater risk for serious whiplash injury because they generally have smaller frames and less muscle mass than men, meaning they are less able to adequately prepare their body for the force of an impact.
A whiplash injury can have lasting consequences on your range of motion and everyday life. It can cause permanent joint damage or dysfunction, herniated discs, nervous system damage and loss of coordination, chronic pain, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, trouble sleeping or concentrating, and even cognitive impairments.
This can add up to thousands of dollars in doctors’ visits, corrective surgeries, physical therapy, and lost wages, in addition to a decline in quality of life as you suffer with long term chronic pain and limited mobility. If you’ve been injured in a whiplash accident, contact a car injury lawyer to discuss your case. Remember, many whiplash accidents don’t even cause vehicle damage, but that doesn’t mean your injury isn’t serious.