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Can Whiplash Cause Permanent Injuries?

Whiplash, also referred to as cervical acceleration-deceleration injury, is an injury to the neck. It occurs when the soft tissue of the head and neck snap back and forth in rapid succession. Some describe the feeling and sound resulting from it as like a whip cracking. This condition is common among car accident victims who were involved in a rear-end collision.


Mild Symptoms

Due to the adrenaline rush, whiplash symptoms may be mild at first. Common symptoms of whiplash include a feeling of soreness on the shoulders, pain, neck stiffness, and recurring headaches. Tingling and tinnitus is also a common symptom.

Early diagnosis and treatment plans will lead to these symptoms fizzling out. However, people can develop complications leading to chronic whiplash if they give it little attention. 


Permanent or Long-term Effects

From the impact, whiplash can damage the soft tissues of the back, neck joints, disc, and ligaments. Depending on the severity of the impact, an individual can experience permanent or long-term effects. In such a case, the pain can last for six months or longer. Left untreated, it can lead to permanent disabilities and conditions, including the following:

  • Chronic Pain

Most whiplash victims who fail to seek treatment are prone to having chronic pain and soreness. It will keep on increasing as a result of stressed or torn neck muscles and ligaments. The neck muscles are affected by the back-and-forth movement during the accident.

When an individual over-exerts these muscles and ligaments, chronic pain sets in. This, in turn, makes it difficult to have normal movements or do easy tasks. Chronic pain can persist several years after the injury. 

  • Vertebrae Misalignment

Spinal misalignment is a possible result of whiplash. It affects the two upper vertebrae connecting the skull and spine. This misalignment can cause a communication breakdown between the brain and the central nervous system. As such, an individual will face challenges with normal posture and mobility. 

  • Degenerative Disc Disease

Severe whiplash that goes untreated can lead to the discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column breaking down. Degenerative disc disease triggers symptoms like numbness and upper back pain. Thus, it compromises the ability of an individual to absorb shock, flex, and bend backward owing to the worn-out discs.

  • Concussion

When whiplash occurs, it can lead to a concussion. As a result, an individual may experience confusion, nausea, and difficulty talking. In addition, chronic headaches will cause extreme discomfort to the whole body.

  • Vertigo

This refers to a condition where a victim feels like spinning or falling, yet they are not. Whiplash victims report dizziness, which occurs as a result of the misaligned cervical spine. The dizziness can, in turn, lead an individual to lose their balance and eventually fall down. The neck injuries result in sensations of disequilibrium from cervicogenic dizziness. This is a long-term condition from the permanent neck injuries due to the accident.

For more on injuries resulting from whiplash, visit Brookdale Health at our office in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. You can call (763) 561-4045 to book an appointment today.

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