Injuries to the neck caused by the sudden movement of the head backward, forward, or sideways, is referred to as whiplash.
Even though the car may have received little damage,
occupants can suffer serious spinal injury.
When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine and head can be overstretched or torn. The soft, pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear, or rupture. Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion. The spinal cord and nerve roots in the neck can get stretched and irritated.
The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can result in headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulder, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and even low back problems.
As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months later.
If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimized.