It’s fairly common for whiplash to occur in an auto accident.  Even an accident at speeds of just 5 MPH can have potentially dangerous implications when it comes to whiplash.  There are many long-term effects that can cause pain and permanent damage months after the initial accident.  If you, or someone you know, has been in an auto accident, it would be wise to get checked by medical professional trained in dealing with auto accident symptoms.  Below are six things that everyone should know about whiplash.

  1. Whiplash is a hyperflexion and hyperextension of the spine. This is more notably found in the cervical spine or the neck. This can also happen in the lumbar or thoracic spine.
  2. A whiplash injury can cause tearing of the muscle fibers or ligaments, the tendons, the joint capsules and the discs which act as a shock absorber for the spine. An emergency room doctor will not make this diagnosis and therefore it is vital that you are checked by an accident specialist if you have been involved an accident.
  3. There are many causes of whiplash injuries. Most people think of whiplash as being rear-ended or when you hit another vehicle causing your spine to go into hyperextension or hyperflexion.  Other types of injuries that cause whiplash would be football, basketball, skiing, slipping and falling, skateboard accidents, gymnastics, cheerleading, boating accidents, water skiing, and surfing injuries.  All of these, and many more activities where there is an impact can cause whiplash or trauma that requires medical attention.
  4. Problems that generally result from whiplash when you don’t get the proper treatment include:
    1. Scar tissue build up which can restrict the motion of your spine. Scar tissue is similar to fibers of cement that lay down every day after an injury becoming hard and inflexible.  If your spine is crooked after the injury, it will heal that way and ultimately can cause rapid degeneration of the disc.  Think of it like a tire on your car which is out of alignment.  The disk will wear unevenly until there is permanent non-movement in the spinal sections.
    2. Spur formations will usually follow, irritating the bones and resulting in spur formations that can be compared to stalactites or stalagmites in a cave. The spur formations can fuse the spine together from top to bottom and ultimately result in permanent non-movement in spinal sections.
    3. Herniated discs, slipped discs and disk protrusions are all the same term. These entities can result from whiplash as well.  A herniated disc is similar to a jelly donut and if the outside of the donut gets ruptured and bulges, it will compress the spinal cord or nerve resulting in unrelenting pain.  This can lead to spinal surgery that can also cause permanent problems for the rest of your life.  The longer you wait to be treated, the more degeneration and spur formations are likely to build.  It is important to get treated immediately after a whiplash injury.  This could save you a lot of pain and suffering over the coming months and years.
  5. It is vital to stabilize the spine as quickly as possible and to restore the full range of motion in a timely manner. If you can achieve full range of motion, proper alignment and strength of the spine within a 1-3 month period, you are likely to have a full and excellent recovery.  Types of therapy used to accomplish this, include spinal manipulation, spinal decompression, laser therapy, traction, ultrasound, diathermy, therapeutic exercises, and neuromuscular skeletal education.
  6. If you have been in an automobile accident, whiplash is covered under your no-fault insurance at “no out of pocket expense” to you. If the accident was your fault, or if someone else hit you, it doesn’t make a difference.  Al your medical bills will be paid for in full.

As you can see, whiplash can have a long-term effect on your health and wellbeing.  It is important to get checked by a medical professional who specializes in auto accident injuries.  Dr. James Grant at the accident and injury clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah has been treating auto accident patients for over 30 years.  You auto insurance will cover any medical costs if you have been injured so schedule your appointment with no out of pocket cost to you by calling the offices, conveniently located on 3300 South in Salt Lake City.  Call (801) 663-7685 to book your appointment today.