Of the unseen effects of car accidents, whiplash is among the most common. Whiplash is the term applied to injuries to the cervical vertebrae (the seven vertebrae closest to the skull in humans) that occur as a result of hyperextending the neck. It is seen most often after car accidents, but can arise from other quick, unexpected jolts to the neck as as well.
When a car is struck from behind, the resulting force pulls its passengers’ skulls back, and then snaps them forward, similar to the cracking of a whip.
The resulting damage to the neck muscles and vertebrae can be severe. Some symptoms of a whiplash injury include:
Whiplash injuries can sometimes lie dormant for periods of weeks or months, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly when and how they occurred. There is no single definite treatment for whiplash, but pain medications and physical therapy can be helpful.