Auto accidents can be described as either low-velocity (below 10 mph) or high-velocity (above 10 mph). In low-velocity accidents, the victim's body is thrown backward and forward in a rapid progression of acceleration and deceleration. Since it is unusual at this speed for victim to experience a second impact inside the vehicle (such as hitting the dashboard), the injuries usually result from the rapid movement of the body during the crash. Common low-velocity injuries include whiplash, muscle strain, seatbelt bruises, or traumatic brain injury (shaken baby syndrome). The onset of symptoms is often delayed with these injuries so that at the time of the accident the victim may not immediately realize an injury has occurred. Within 12 to 36 hours after the impact, however, the victim will begin to recognize pain and stiffness of the injured areas.
High-velocity collisions normally result in more serious injury because the victim experiences a second impact, hitting an object in the vehicle such as the dashboard, steering wheel, or even the windshield. Common injuries include shoulder, head, or knee hematomas, wrist fractures, neck sprains, concussion, and contusions. There is no question that these victims immediately know where and how badly they are injured. It would not be surprising for the victim to also experience fatigue and irritability. The trauma of the event itself, added to pain and disability, creates stress that may linger even into the stages of treatment and recovery, if necessary. Understanding what to do when an accident happens and what types of injuries can occur may save you time, money, and long-term medical care, but a prompt physical examination is the best advice. Immediately see our doctor who will determine the extent of any injuries, and prescribe a treatment regimen to speed the healing process.
Even though the car may have received little damage, occupants can suffer serious spinal injury. Injuries to the neck caused by the sudden movement of head, backward, forward, or sideways, is referred to as "whiplash." Whiplash is most commonly received from riding in a car that is struck from behind or collides with another object. 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. While the occupants can suffer considerable soft tissue injury, the car may be only slightly damaged.
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 low back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months later. After a thorough case history and examination, the doctor will recommend a series of visits to help restore proper motion and position of spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimized. Symptoms The following lists the most common whiplash symptoms as well as their rate of occurrence. If you experience any of these symptoms, play it safe and get a check up immediately.
|1||Neck pain and/or stiffness||92%|
|6||Pain between the shoulder blades||42%|
|7||Low back pain||39%|
|9||Upper limb paresthesia||30%|
|10||Sensitivity to noise||29%|
|17||Upper limb pain||12%|
|18||Upper limb weakness||6%|
|19||Ringing in the ears||4%|
|20||Pain in the jaw or face||4+%|