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Common causes and symptoms of whiplash

People in South Carolina could be interested in the causes, symptoms and treatment options for an injury known as whiplash. An injury that has taken on a somewhat negative association over the years, it is now sometimes referred to as a hyper-extension injury, cervical strain or cervical sprain. Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by a sudden violent jolt in one direction followed by one in the other direction. It most often afflicts passengers and drivers in motor vehicles when they become involved in a rear-end collision, but it can also occur during a workplace injury, a sports injury or in a fall.

When a whiplash occurs, it affects the ligaments responsible for supporting the neck. The tendons and muscles become strained and the nerve roots can become inflamed between the vertebrae. The discs in-between those vertebrae could also become torn, which could then cause painful herniated discs.

The most common whiplash symptoms are neck pain and stiffness. The symptoms could occur either in the back or front of the neck, or both. It could be very painful to turn the head, and a severe headache that affects the base of the skull is a common occurrence with whiplash. Pain and stiffness could extend to the upper chest, upper back, arms and shoulders. In some cases, patients have experienced blurred vision, nausea, dizziness and difficulty in swallowing following whiplash. Symptoms could also include vertigo, difficulties with concentration, fatigue, and irritability.

Whiplash is generally treated using massage, stretching exercises, chiropractic adjustment, and in extreme cases, physical therapy or surgery. When people suffer whiplash in car accidents, they could be facing costly medical expenses and loss of work. A personal injury attorney could help by advising them of their options and filing a lawsuit seeking an award of compensation that could help with those issues.

Source: American Chiropractic Association, "Whiplash," accessed on Feb. 21, 2015

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