The most common injury that individuals suffer after an abrupt acceleration-deceleration force is whiplash. "Whiplash", a term first utilized in 1928, is most commonly the result of motor vehicle accidents. An identical condition referred to as "railway spine" was used to identify a condition that was common in individuals who were involved in train collisions well before 1928. The term "whiplash related ailments" describes a more chronic and severe ailment, while the term "whiplash injury" represents injury to specifically the bone and soft tissue structures.
The vast majority of men and women involved with minor automobile collisions recuperate quickly and with no chronic symptoms, however, some people will continue to encounter signs or symptoms for many years following the injury occurred. This broad variation of signs or symptoms after fairly minor injuries has led some experts to speculate that in some cases, whiplash is not really so much a real physiologic injury but that the signs and symptoms tend to be manufactured as a consequence of potential settlement. You can find several clinical studies which have investigated this idea. There will unfortunately continually be people that are willing to mislead the system to improve their own personal gain, on the other hand, whiplash has genuine symptoms and is an actual condition.
Typically, whiplash is most often caused by a motor vehicle accident where the automobile the person is riding in is not moving and is struck from behind by another car without any warning. Rear impacts are more likely to cause whiplash, as the neck and head can get forced into a hyperextension as the seat pushes the person's torso forward. This will cause the unrestrained neck and head to fall backwards. After a short hesitation, the head and neck then recuperate and are instantly thrown right into a hyperflexed position.
More recently, studies have been performed with high speed cameras and more sophisticated crash-test dummies. These studies have determined that after the rear impact, the lower bones in the neck, known as the lower cervical vertebrae, are forced into a position of hyperextension, as the upper bones in the neck or the upper cervical vertebrae are in a hyperflexed position. This scenario brings about an abnormal S-shape in the cervical spine once the rear impact occurs which is very different from the normal motion. Most professionals feel that this irregular motion causes injury to the soft tissues that hold the cervical vertebrae together, as in the facet capsules, ligaments, and muscles.
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