Whiplash is medically defined as an injury produced when the soft tissue in the spine is stretched and strained after the head jolts abruptly in a quick, back-and-forth movement in any direction. This sudden shift of the head often leads to the damage of the ligaments and tendons in the neck, causing the familiar symptoms associated with this type of injury.
Symptoms of Whiplash
A whiplash injury commonly occurs during an automobile accident, although strenuous sports and activities, such as swimming, can also cause injury. The hyperextension and/or hyperflexion of the muscles in the neck at the time of the accident is often the cause leading to strain in the neck. In the majority of the cases, symptoms will begin to develop within a few hours of the accident.
The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck that, despite being mild in most cases, can cause limited mobility in the individual or may cause headaches as a result. Also, swelling and inflammation of the local muscles surrounding the cervical spine is known to be another common symptom.
Other common symptoms include: headaches, nausea , vomiting, tinnitus, vertigo, poor sleep, insomnia, radiating pain in the extremities, decreased cervical range of motion, varied levels of concussion, disorientation, TMJ Problems.
Whiplash injuries can also have scattered effects where an individual may experience lower back pain and symptoms similar to sciatica.
Source: Sciatica Causes and its Symptoms
During physical exercise, this type of injury can be prevented to avoid further complications. Contact sports such as karate and football can also cause damage to the ligaments and tendons in the neck as well as other areas of the spine.
Source: Neck Injury Prevention
By Dr. Alex Jimenez