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The causes and effects of whiplash injuries

A whiplash is a common car accident injury that occurs when the head and neck are moved suddenly in one direction and then another. The name comes from the whip-like motion, and the sudden movement creates both a sprain and a strain in the neck. The injury can be painful for a prolonged of time and has a wide range of severity. Many drivers pass off whiplash as a common and minor injury, but it is important for Arizona residents to understand how serious it can be.

The symptoms of whiplash injury commonly include neck pain and stiffness that can last for several days. Other symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision or ringing in the ears or difficulty swallowing. A person may experience any or all of these symptoms, and they may not develop immediately. The symptoms usually clear within a few days, but they can last weeks or even months, especially if they are ignored or not treated properly. In very serious cases, the discs in the neck can become dislocated or herniated, which may require serious treatment.

Severe whiplash is commonly associated with high-velocity accidents that cause a lot of violent motion, but drivers should be aware that whiplash may occur with accidents at very low speeds. This is especially true of rear-end collisions. A driver should pay attention for the signs and symptoms of whiplash in any car accident, even a minor one. Once noticed, a whiplash injury can usually be treated with physical therapy, pain medication and chiropractic manipulation.

A whiplash injury after a car accident may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit if caused by the negligence of another. The expenses of prolonged physical therapy or chiropractic work can quickly add up to an amount most people are unprepared to pay. A lawsuit may result in the award of damages to meet these and other expenses.

Source: American Chiropractic Association, "Whiplash", accessed on Jan. 10, 2015

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