Whiplash injuries

Abstract

Whiplash injuries are very common and usually are associated with rear-end collisions. However, a whiplash injury can be caused by any event that results in hyperextension and flexion of the cervical spine. These injuries are of serious concern to all consumers due to escalating cost of diagnosis, treatment, insurance, and litigation. Most acute whiplash injury cases respond well to conservative treatments, which result in resolution of symptoms usually within weeks to a few months after the injury occurred. Chronic whiplash injuries often are harder to diagnose and treat and often result in poor outcomes. Current research shows that various structures in the cervical spine receive nociceptive innervation and potentially may be the cause of chronic pain symptoms. One potential pain generator showing promise is the facet or zygapophyseal joints. Various researchers have proven that these joints are injured during whiplash injuries and that diagnosis and temporary pain relief can be obtained with facet joint injections. The initial evaluation of any patient should follow an organized and stepwise approach, and more serious causes of neck pain must first be ruled out through the history, physical examination, and diagnostic testing. Treatment regimens should be evidence-based, focusing on treatments that have proven to be effective in treating acute and chronic whiplash injuries.

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Malanga, G., Peter, J. Whiplash injuries. Current Science Inc 9, 322–325 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-005-0007-6

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Keywords

  • Cervical Spine
  • Neck Pain
  • Posterior Longitudinal Ligament
  • Whiplash Injury
  • Chronic Neck Pain