Whiplash occurs when the neck is suddenly forced forward (in flexion) and back (extension) beyond normal range of motion. Automobile Accidents are a common cause of this type of injury. However, contact sports and various accidents can also lead to cases of Whiplash.
Whiplash can be in it's most mild form—a light sprain/strain to the musculature and ligamentous structures of the neck. But it can also be a serious injury, as in the case of a rear end motor vehicle collision—where such structures as the intervertebral discs become bulged or herniated. Injury can be further complicated by compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerves by the injured disc.
It's important to note: Discs themselves are not innervated-meaning they do not register/feel pain. Only when an injured disc is impinging a part of the body that feels pain can disc injury be felt.
This underlines the importance of being evaluated after an accident.
While the initial soreness of an accident will dissipate over time, disc injuries and the scar tissue formation from untreated whiplash can lead to much more serious concerns later on.
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