As New York drivers may know, whiplash is a common injury when a vehicle is struck from behind. The impact causes the person’s body to move forward disproportionately from the head. As the head snaps forward to realign itself, it creates a rapid forward and backward movement that may cause strain to the muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The symptoms of whiplash vary, but in some cases they do not become apparent for several days after a car accident. Since diagnosing whiplash is dependent on the symptoms an individual has as well as the history of an injury, diagnosis may be delayed. This delay may result in an enhanced loss of mobility of the involved soft tissue structures. Symptoms commonly seen with whiplash include stiffness and soreness in the cervical area, fatigue, limited mobility in the neck and upper thoracic area, headache and dizziness. Other symptoms include confusion and difficulty concentrating, insomnia, irritability and tinnitus.

Diagnosis is often augmented by X-rays, CT scans or an MRI. An X-ray allows a physician to determine if neck pain is related to a preexisting arthritic condition. Both a CT scan and an MRI are able to evaluate the soft tissues as well as the spinal column in the cervical area for damage. Treatment often consists of mild pain analgesia. A collar made of foam may be used to support the neck. However, the use of such a collar is limited to several days since overuse may cause neck muscles to become weak. Physical therapy may also be used, and relaxation methods can offer some relief.

One who is injured in a collision caused by the negligence of another and who develops whiplash may require medical care and be unable to work. An attorney may help by reviewing accident reports to determine fault and file a personal injury lawsuit to recover appropriate damages. Source: American Chiropractic Association , “Whiplash”, accessed on Jan. 16, 2015