Whiplash by: Dr. Odion Ojo

Whiplash injury sometimes seems out proportion for the apparent magnitude of the collusion. The question often arises as to how could such a “small” accident cause such a “big” injury. Analysis of the mechanism of whiplash reveals that the neck is often in a more vigorous accident than the car. Whiplash is a sprain injury which means that the ligaments and muscles that support the joints of the neck been stretched to the point where some tearing takes place. Whiplash, which is called hyper extension-hyperflexion injury, is a soft tissue injury but a hard tissue injury with soft component that affects the entire osseous (bony) skeleton with devastating short and long term morphological changes. It has been documented that a rear-end impact of 10-12 mph ca cause a cervical spine sprain injury.

Because the head is relatively heavy and suspended on the neck, it creates a whipping action as the body is thrust forward. A Second factor is the springing action of the seat. At impact, the head begins to arch backward as the car jumps forward, Because car seats are soft and have springs, the body, at first, is compressed into the seat.

As the seat reaches maximum compression it recoils, thrusting the shoulder forward. Unfortunately this occurs at the same time that the neck is most arched, increasing the whipping action. The whipping action of the head is so great that there is a 50% chance of brain concussion in the 10-12 mph impact simply from it hitting the skull bone. This occurs even without striking the head.

Another confusing part about whiplash is that many who have a fairly serious injury experience symptoms from 12 to 72 hours, even longer, after the accident. There are two reason for this phenomenon. The first is that the “shock” of the accident causes an adrenal aland response. Large amounts of a hormone are immediately released into the bloodstream after an accident. These cause the “shake” increased heart rate and blood pressure and blocking of pain perception. While pain would normally be present, the “Shocked” state blocks pain awareness. The second reason that pain may take several-hours to develop is that when ligaments and muscles are torn, they do not become maximally painful until swelling and inflammation develop in the next several hours.
The symptoms of whiplash are numerous and can appear right or long after accident. This makes it difficult for some individuals to attribute their symptoms to the automobile collision. The following are few of the signs of injuries caused by whiplash which you should ask yourself. It seems puzzling how a serious injury could occur from a relatively mild accident when there are no immediate symptoms, but these are legitimate injuries. We should not the symptoms following a “small” accident be ignored as they can become quite serious.
  1. Are you experiencing headaches, head and neck pains stiff neck and muscles swelling?

  1. Do you have restricted head motion?

  2. Are you experiencing periods of unexplained depression, anxiety, irritability?

  1. Do you find it difficult to sleep?

  2. Do you have pains between the shoulder and lower back?

  3. Do you have cold hands and feet and numbness of the arms, hands, feet and legs?

  4. Have you experience pins and needles in the legs?

  5. Have you felt light-headed, excessively tired or blacked outs?

  6. Do you experience extreme nervousness and tension?

  7. Do you experience dizziness ringing in the ears?