What is acute whiplash?
The most common injury associated with motor vehicle accidents, acute whiplash injuries occur as a result of sudden and excessive hyperextension or rotation of the neck, which can indirectly injure the cervical spine. Patients with whiplash-associated disorders typically experience neck pain and stiffness, though some may also experience depression, anxiety, headaches, numbness, dizziness, or other symptoms.
Whiplash injuries vary widely in their severity, and they are classified on a five-grade scale. The majority of patients recover within 3 months, but patients with grade II, III, or IV tend to take a longer time to recover and need more treatment than patients with grade 0 or I whiplash. In cases that don’t require surgery, painkillers and physical therapy are front-line treatments.
What causes acute whiplash?
Whiplash is most commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, though whiplash injuries can also be sustained in other ways. Any event that results in the head suddenly and forcefully jerking forwards, backwards, or sideways can result in whiplash and its associated symptoms, as this motion can overstretch and sprain the ligaments and tendons in the neck.
Patients can also experience whiplash due to a bicycle or horse riding accident, an amusement park ride, a blow to the head, a sports collision, or physical abuse. Women are at higher risk than men, as their necks are usually thinner and their neck muscles are typically not as strong.
The most common causes of acute whiplash include:
- Car accidents
- Bike accidents
- Blows to the head
- Contact sports
Source: Medical News Today
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