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Whiplash is a neck injury that is not life-threatening but can cause permanent difficulties for its victims. It occurs when the head is rapidly whipped about in a forward-backward motion. Such movement overextends the muscles, causing them to suffer painful and potentially lasting damage. Whiplash injuries can affect and harm the local ligaments, intervertebral joints, and spinal discs, as well.
Causes of Whiplash
Whiplash may result from a number of different incidents. Any type of sudden movement that prompts the neck to move in a jerky and violent manner can cause this injury. In general, any of the following can result in whiplash to their victims:
- Car crashes
- Sports accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Malicious actions/violence
- Shaking a baby
- Poorly designed amusement park rides
Rear-end car crashes are the most common causes of whiplash, but the above phenomena have also been known to occasionally result in painful and debilitating neck injuries.
Individuals suffering from whiplash will experience a number of very painful symptoms as they recover from their injuries. Typically, injured parties will develop the following:
- Pain, swelling, and stiffness in the neck
- Headaches and dizziness
- Shoulder pain
- Changes in vision and hearing
- Inability to sleep and/or concentrate
Sometimes, the pain associated with a whiplash injury will remain for months following the injury. Though it is not common, whiplash can also develop into a permanent condition characterized by loss of neck motion and chronic pain.