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Whiplash injuries: common and painful

Most Rhode Island residents have likely seen a television show or movie in which a character who is involved in a car accident is wearing a large white cervical collar around his or her neck. While commonly associated with comedic depictions of car accident injuries, there's nothing funny about a neck injury and one of the most common types of neck injuries that result from motor vehicle accidents is whiplash.

The human spine is composed of a "long chain of bones, discs, muscles and ligaments that extends from the base of the skull to the tip of the tailbone." If an injury occurs to any region of the spine, an individual is likely to experience great pain as well as impairments in mobility and normal functioning. Specifically, an injury to the upper portion of the spine or neck, can cause one to suffer severe pain and inhibit normal movement.

When an individual is involved in a car accident, his or her body and head are likely to be thrust forwards, backwards or to the side. The sudden and violent motions can cause injury and swelling to occur to the ligaments, discs, muscles and nerves in one's neck. In some cases, the pain of a whiplash injury may be apparent immediately in the wake of an accident. Often, however, the full extent and severity of this type of injury isn't apparent for several days after an accident.

Treatment of whiplash injuries typically involves isolation followed by strength training and realignment techniques. If an individual is still experiencing pain and problems 12 weeks post-injury, he or she may require more specialized treatment from a spinal specialist.

Whiplash is just one of the many injuries that car accident victims can and often do suffer. Car accident victims are often left in great pain that inhibits their ability to move and perform normal activities. In cases where another driver was deemed at-fault in causing an accident, it's wise to consult with an attorney.

Source:, "Whiplash and Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAS)," Dec. 2, 2015

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