Keys to recognizing and recovering from whiplash.
Each year, more than two million Americans experience whiplash. Also called a neck strain or sprain, it occurs when the head suddenly snaps forward, then backward — a whip-like motion that overstretches the joints, muscles and ligaments of the neck and upper back.
Here are things you may not know about this well-known injury.
It doesn't take a lot of force.
In fact, many whiplash injuries from vehicle accidents occur at speeds as low as five to 10 mph. The severity of the injury often depends on whether you are properly restrained, which is why anyone riding in a vehicle should wear a seat belt or be secured in a size-appropriate child safety seat.
Aging increases the risk of whiplash injuries.
Older people, and those who already have neck problems such as arthritis, may experience more serious whiplash than a younger person.
As people get older, their movement is more limited, their muscles lose flexibility and strength, and their discs and ligaments are not as stretchy. So when their neck whips back and forth, there’s more potential for damage.
You shouldn't shrug off symptoms.
Although neck pain is common immediately after a whiplash injury, some people don’t experience pain until a few hours, days or even weeks later. A later onset of symptoms doesn’t indicate a more serious injury, but regardless of when pain starts, don’t ignore it.
Dr. Mina is a chiropractor in the cities of Anaheim and Santa Monica. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact him at 562-201-5121.