Common Questions About Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury of the spine that is often associated with car accidents, especially rear-end collisions, but it can also be sustained during a sport or a fall. Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding whiplash and how it can be treated.

  1. What is whiplash? Whiplash, also known as a neck strain, is an injury to the neck that results from a sudden jerking motion. It most often affects the soft tissue of the neck, including the cervical muscles, ligaments and tendons. Whiplash can also cause damage to the spine’s intervertebral joints, discs, and nerve roots.
  2. What can cause whiplash? Whiplash is sustained when a person’s head and neck are moved too suddenly, causing the head to jerk or snap backwards. For example, in the case of a car accident, the head snaps forward and quickly back as the seatbelt restrains the body to prevent it from hitting the windshield. Whiplash can also be caused by sports injuries, such as those sustained in football or boxing, falls, assaults and other situations that cause a powerful blow to the head. Whiplash is also one of the injuries sustained in shaken baby syndrome.
  3. What are the symptoms of whiplash? Whiplash symptoms can include neck pain, shoulder pain, lower back pain, headache, muscle weakness and difficulty with comfortable head and neck positioning. Other whiplash symptoms include impaired cognitive function, vertigo, dizziness, and pain that radiates to the head, arms, shoulders or between the shoulder blades. Whiplash symptoms have also been linked to carpal tunnel syndrome and peripheral nervous system disorders.
  4. How long does whiplash last? The true severity of whiplash symptoms is usually not immediately felt. The neck pain, bruising and swelling that are often associated with whiplash usually begin to develop 6 to 12 hours following the accident. These symptoms tend to usually clear up on their own in about 2 to 3 weeks. These instances are referred to as acute whiplash, although symptoms may linger for a few months. If symptoms persist for years, that is known as chronic whiplash.

If you suspect that you are suffering whiplash symptoms, it is important to have your injuries evaluated by a board certified doctor as soon as possible. At Princeton Neurological Surgery, we specialize in the evaluation of neck and back pain, and offer various surgical and non-surgical treatments.

Whiplash Treatment in the Greater Princeton Area

If you have any questions about how to prevent or treat spinal injuries, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Hamilton, NJ, serving the greater Princeton area, and you can reach us at (609) 890-3400. We look forward to serving you.

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