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Spine Disorders

  • By: ISA Content Team
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Whiplash

TERMINOLOGY (SYNONYMS)

  • Hyperextension and hyperflexion injury
  • Neck strain/sprain
  • Cervical stain/sprain


INTRODUCTION



The term whiplash refers to a type of spine injury associated with a ballistic trauma. It is usually associated with soft tissue injury to the muscles and ligaments of the spine, occurring following a motor vehicle accident. Whiplash syndrome is a mechanistic term that is characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following injury to the neck, usually because of rapid acceleration and deceleration of the spine. This mechanism of injury often results in strain/sprain of supportive elements of the neck such as muscles, ligaments and tendons.  In more severe cases, this may result in small tears involving these supportive tissues and may lead to compromise of the underlying disc which may be vulnerable to rapid unguarded movements secondary to degenerative changes. 


The most common cause of whiplash is vehicular trauma (automobile accident) which causes the head and neck to suddenly move forward and backward.  If the head is turned at the time of impact there may be injurious rotation of the neck at the time of impact. Whiplash may involve combined neck rotation and lateral movement. Whiplash may also be associated with direct blunt trauma, especially in incidents where proper restraint belts were not being used. 



Educational Partners

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All health information posted on the site is based on the latest research and national treatment standards, and have been written or reviewed and appoved by the American Acedemy of Spine Physicians and/or International Spine Association physicians or health professionals unless otherwise specified.



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