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Can car accidents cause whiplash?

There are several different types of injuries that can occur when you are involved in a car accident. Some injuries are serious enough that they will be evident right away. Other injuries, such as whiplash, aren't necessarily evident at the time of the accident. Whiplash is a condition that can lead to significant pain after the accident.

How does whiplash occur?

Whiplash occurs when the head is flung forward and backward in a way that resembles a whip. This injury can affect all the structures in the neck, including the ligaments, joints, muscles and tendons. The vertebrae in the neck can sometimes be fractured or dislocated, but that is very rare.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

The most common symptom of whiplash is pain in the neck. This can cause a stiffness in the neck or it can cause trouble when you turn your neck. The symptoms can travel beyond the neck. You might suffer from a headache, ringing in your ears, pain in the arms, chest pain or a host of other symptoms depending on how your neck was affected.

What are the treatments for whiplash?

Staying active is one of the primary treatments for whiplash. Other treatments, such as chiropractic treatments might be used, as can ice therapy or heat therapy. Even with treatments, the effects of whiplash can last weeks to months. In extreme cases, symptoms might persist for years.

Whiplash can affect almost every aspect of your life, including your ability to enjoy life or your ability to work. With this in mind, you might opt to seek compensation for your whiplash injury.

Source: American Chiropractic Association, "Whiplash," accessed July 15, 2015

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