What you need to know about whiplash

To prevent a collision, it's wise to always keep at least one vehicle's length between your car and the one in front of you on the highway. Unfortunately, you cannot control how closely the driver in the car behind you decides to follow.

Consequently, in a sudden traffic situation, even if you stop in time you can still be involved in a rear-end collision. Rear-end crashes involving vehicles moving as slowly as 15 MPH can result in the drivers and passengers involved suffering painful whiplash injuries. 

Anatomy of the neck

SpineUniverse.com explains that your neck is the cervical portion of the spine that includes seven vertebrae with discs between each that absorb shock. There are also 32 muscles with ligaments that connect the muscles to the bones and cartilage. The human neck also contains many blood vessels and nerves that send messages from the body to the brain.

When you are involved in a rear-end collision, the violent forward-and-backward movement that your neck suffers can cause damage to any or all of these parts, which can affect more than just your neck.

Symptoms of whiplash

Your first clue that something is wrong may not even be neck pain, although that is the most common symptom. Whiplash often causes numbness, tingling and tenderness in the neck, shoulders, arms or hands, as well as stiffness and pain. You could also experience serious headaches, blurred vision and become dizzy and nauseated.

Problems with diagnosis

After a traffic accident, you may feel fine at first and initially forego a trip to the doctor. In fact, in some cases, it can take hours or even days before you experience symptoms which will likely to continue to worsen in the days, weeks or even months after a crash.

Because of the complexity of your cervical spine, it may take a doctor quite some time to identify all of the areas that suffered damage. Prolonged treatment and high medical bills can result from even a seemingly minor fender bender, so it's important to keep your options for compensation open and to seek an attorney’s advice.

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