Whiplash is a neck injury that is commonly seen in people who are involved in head-on collisions or other auto accidents. The condition is often a combination of injuries that occurs in the cervical spine when the head is violently thrust forward and then suddenly jerked back or from side to side. Most people are unaware that they have suffered a whiplash injury at the accident scene because symptoms do not usually develop until 2 to 48 hours after the crash.
Typically, the injuries suffered with whiplash involve a tearing, or spraining, of the vertebral ligaments. Also, the muscles and tendons that provide support to the cervical spine are over-stretched resulting in a strain, and the nerve roots in the spinal column may become inflamed. Less often, the vertebral discs may become herniated, or the vertebrae may be pushed out of line or fractured.
The most common symptoms that are exhibited by patients who have suffered a whiplash injury are generalized neck pain and muscle stiffness. According to the American Chiropractic Association, neck pain increases with movement, and over 60 percent of patients experience a headache on one or both sides of the head. Other symptoms may include dizziness, nausea and blurred vision.
If an individual has been the victim of a car accident and has suffered a whiplash injury, he or she may be able to seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses that were incurred as a result of the collision. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help the person by attempting to reach a settlement with the insurance companies and other parties involved or by filing a personal injury lawsuit.