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Whiplash causes and treatment

New Jersey drivers may be interested in some information on whiplash. This injury is a common result of car accidents, often involving rear-end collisions.

Whiplash is caused by force applied to the body which makes the neck move violently in one way and then quickly in another. This often occurs during a car accident, but can also happen as a result of sports injuries, falls and other types of accidents. While whiplash is a generic term for these types of injuries, there are certain characteristics of a whiplash injury that are common. These include a sprain or strain of the neck muscles, ligaments and joints of the upper spine. This is caused by the neck being pulled beyond its normal range of movement in the accident. Nerves in the neck can be stretched and the discs in the neck area of the spine may be torn due to the trauma.

Generally, whiplash injuries are treated in two main ways. One is to use various physical therapy techniques, such as applying ice, heat and electrical stimulation to the injured area. These can be helpful in treating the short-term symptoms of the whiplash injury. Long-term healing can often be achieved by keeping the area active through doctor-prescribed exercise and stretching. Experts recommend that safety precautions be taken when driving to help prevent whiplash injuries. These include wearing a safety belt at all times and ensuring that the headrest is adjusted properly to provide neck support.

In cases where whiplash is one of the results of a car accident caused by a negligent driver, the victim may wish to consult with an attorney in order to determine whether an appropriate legal action should be brought against the party responsible for the resulting serious injury. This can result in compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses.

Source: American Chiropractic Association, "Whiplash", accessed on Jan. 24, 2015

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