What is Whiplash?
Before we study the causes and treatment of whiplash, we should know what is whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury caused to the neck arising out of sudden impact from behind, normally as a result of a road accident. The sudden impact jerks the neck and spine causing serious injury. The most common type of accidents is being hit from behind. This neck injury is the result of the sudden impact on the spine that leads to a joint dysfunction wherein a joint in the spinal cord ceases to be resilient and it loses the power of shock absorption. This leads to unbearable pain and restricted movement of the neck. A whiplash may also lead to disc herniation where small tears occur within the vertebral discs, and it causes the inner core of the disc to come in contact with a nerve root causing shooting pain down the arms.
The UK is considered to be the capital of whiplash claims in Europe with over 1,300 daily claims being files to seek compensation. This has resulted in insurers coming together to put an end to such rising claims due to car accidents. Insurers are in the process of hiking up car insurance premiums. Criticism has been raised requesting arevamp to the system of claiming for whiplash compensation as the law prescribes the insurers to file evidence for refusal of settling such claims. According to survey, 76% of all body injury claims are victims of whiplash.
A whiplash injury may also be the result of fall from a motorbike or a horse. The neck has to bear the maximum impact, which causes the spinal cord to bend in the shape of an “S”. This type of injury is common in sports persons, especially those playing rugby and participating in karate.
Symptoms exhibited by the whiplash victim include stiffness in the neck resulting in restricted movement, unbearable pain in the neck and down the arms, and a strong headache. The injury gets aggravated as days pass by unless immediate remedies, as suggested by medical professionals, are adopted.
The treatment for a whiplash injury depends upon the nature of the injury and the location of the cervical distortion. Medicinal treatment associated with physiotherapy and exercises may result in providing some relief. Chiropractic therapy may also be effective.
While driving or travelling in a car or riding a motorcycle, it is always advisable to sit in an ergonomic position. This can help minimize or avoid the maximum impact falling on the neck and cervical cord in the event of a rear shunt. Minor whiplash injuries may take some weeks to recover, but in case of major accidents, there is always a slim chance of permanent disablement.
While whiplash injuries remain commonplace, there is a risk of dispute between the insurance companies and the victims relating to the exact cause of the neck injury and the whiplash compensation claimed. For many, the compensation is not as important as regaining their health.