CALIFORNIA ACCIDENT - NECK INJURIES: What happens in a "Whiplash" Auto Accident?

Whiplash is a slang term for an injury that occurs to the neck after the head has been literally "whipped" either forwards and backwards or sideways after a sudden jar. Therefore, this can occur from a slip / trip and fall, a bar room brawl, as well as from the classic car accident or motor vehicle collision. But what REALLY happens in a "whiplash" injury?

To answer this, let's talk about: 1. The mechanism of injury; 2. The different types of injuries; and 3. The treatment options. 


1. The Mechanism of injuryLet's take the example of a rear-end crash from a motor vehicle collision (MVC). In this scenario, the "target" vehicle is struck from behind by the "bullet" vehicle propelling it forwards. ith Primary Care Physicians using conventional medicine alone."  All of this occurs in LESS TIME than what we can NORMALLY voluntarily contract a muscle, which takes about 500 msec., so even when we anticipate the impending crash and we brace ourselves, we can't really stop our neck from going through these movements. 

2. Types of injuriesThe term "sprain" refers to ligament (tough non-elastic tissue that holds bone to bone) injury and "strain" muscle/tendon (elastic tissues that move our bones) injury. There are 3 grades of sprain & strains (mild, moderate, and severe).  When these tissues are injured, there is usually a loss of movement and neck pain but not arm numbness or pain. When there is nerve injury, there is arm pain, numbness &/or weakness and generally, this is more serious but usually manageable without the need for surgery. When fractures occur, it's either stable or unstable and may require surgery &/or a rigid collar. 

3. Treatment: Most whiplash injuries are safely managed by chiropractic approaches (fractures are the exception).  Studies have shown that early movement results in a better result than wearing a collar or, not allowing movement. Therefore, gentle mobilization and manipulation approaches "...as soon as tolerated" favor a better outcome or result.  Prompt treatment is important both medically and to help protect your legal interests in a car accident! 
 More Legal Qestions About Car & Motorcycle Accidents?

Do you have more legal questions about car & motorcycle accident cases?  Return to theAuto & Motorcycle accidents in California Frequently Asked Legal Questions page.