Whiplash

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Whiplash is a common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following sudden acceleration –deceleration force which is commonly from motor vehicle accidents. The term whiplash was first used in 1928. The term “railway spine” was used to describe a condition. The term “whiplash injury” describes damage to both the bone structure and soft tissues while “whiplash associated disorder “describes more severe and chronic condition.
It is not a life threatening injury but it leads to a prolonged period of partial disability.

Age/sex prevalance of Whiplash

Women are more susceptible to get affected by whiplash compared to men.most common age group to be affected by whiplash is individuals in late fourth decade of life.

Races affected by Whiplash

Individuals of any race can be affected.

Causes of Whiplash

Whiplash is most commonly caused by a motor vehicle accidents .The rear impact causes the head and neck to be forced into hyperextension as the seat pushes the person ‘s torso forward – and the unrestrained head and neck fall backward . After a short delay the head and neck recover and are thrown into a hyper flexed position. After the rear impact the lower cervical vertebrae (lower bones in the neck) are forced into a position of hyperextension while the upper cervical vertebrae (upper bones in the neck) are in hyper flexed position. This leads to an abnormal S –shaped in the cervical spine after the rear impact.

Whiplash sign and symptoms

• Pain in neck and stiffness.
• Headache
• Shoulder pain and stiffness
• Dizziness
• Fatigue
• jaw pain
• arm pain
• arm weakness
• visual disturbance
• ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
• back pain

In the severe and chronic case of “whiplash associated disorder” symptoms are
• Depression
• Anger
• Frustration
• Anxiety
• Stress
• Drug dependency
• Post –traumatic stress syndrome
• Sleep disturbance (insomnia)
• Social isolation.

Diagnosis of Whiplash

It can be diagnosed by X-ray, MRI of the neck to find out the injuries.

Treatment of Whiplash

The initial treatment for whiplash has been a soft cervical collar. The collar helps to reduce the range of motion of the neck and to prevent any additional injuries. Physical therapy can be useful to wean a patient from a cervical collar as well as to strengthen muscles and reduce painful motions.

Complications of Whiplash

Complication of whiplash is that it may develop into chronic pain syndrome in certain individuals.

Differential diagnosis of Whiplash

•Factitious disorder

•Polymyalgia rheumatica

•Traumatic brain injury

•Cervical radiculopathy