Slow-Speed Whiplash Happens
We tend to associate whiplash injuries with high speed car collisions. However, whiplash can also occur at much lower speeds. Some research has shown that whiplash injuries can occur with speed changes (velocity change) as low as 10-15km/h1. 15km/h is often the speed limit for parking lots! So if someone has “bumped” into you recently and if you experiencing one of these symptoms, you might has some whiplash injury – neck pain and stiffness, headache, shoulder pain and stiffness, dizziness, fatigue, jaw pain (temporomandibular joint symptoms), arm pain, arm weakness, visual disturbances, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and back pain.
Abnormal Neck Spinal Movement
All the above symptoms seem so varied to be related to a whiplash incident. But they all have a common link. This video (/whiplash-part-i/) shows you the mechanism of the whiplash as it occurs. More recent studies investigating high-speed cameras and sophisticated crash dummies have determined that after the rear impact the lower cervical vertebrae (lower bones in the neck) are forced into a position of hyperextension (excessive bending forwards position) while the upper cervical vertebrae (upper bones in the neck) are in a hyperflexed position (excessive bending backwards position) . This leads to an abnormal S-shape in the cervical spine after the rear impact that is different from the normal motion. It is thought that this abnormal motion causes damage to the soft tissues that hold the cervical vertebrae together (ligaments, facet capsules, muscles).
It is damage to the soft tissues (ligaments, facet capsules, muscles) that causes the pain directly or indirectly by affecting the nearby nerves. Symptoms such as arm weakness and ringing in the ears are nerve related.
Get Treated Early
We strongly recommend early treatment of the whiplash injuries. Soft tissues tend to scar as they heal, which in turn causes other subsequent problems down the road like stiffness, lack of range of movement. Aside from physiotherapy treatments like mobilisation and manipulation, one of the best approaches for whiplash treatment is to behave normally3. That is do not walk around try to keep your neck still to avoid straining it further.
Experiencing neck pain? Click here to find out more about physiotherapy for neck pain relief and how Core Concepts can help.
- Castro WH, Schilgen M, Meyer S, Weber M, Peuker C, Wörtler K. Do “whiplash injuries” occur in low-speed rear impacts? Eur Spine J. 1997;6(6):366-75. PubMed PMID: 9455663; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3467723.
- Whiplash During Low Speed Impact: Fact Or Fraud? http://technology-assoc.com/articles/whiplash-during-low-speed-impact-fact-or-fraud.html
- Whiplash – Treatment Comparisons http://www.som.uq.edu.au/whiplash/whiplash-treatments/treatment-comparisons.aspx
- Common Causes of Neck and Shoulder Pain
- Whiplash – Part I
- 5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Whiplash
- Signs If Your Neck Pain Is Serious Or Not
- Physiotherapy: Which Physiotherapist Should I See For Regular Injuries And Sports Injuries?
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction – The Possible Origin Of Severe Referred Pain
- What To Do In Case of a Sports Injury
- Cleaning Your Way to Injuries
- Experiencing Neck Pain? Physiotherapy Helps Neck Pain Conditions
- Tiger Wood’s Real Source Of Championship Withdrawal – Inflamed Cervical Facet Joint
- When to Worry About seeking Back Pain Treatment and When Not To
- Neck Pain – When To Worry and When Not To
- “What Should I Not Do?” The Question Less Asked
- What is the differences between a Frozen Shoulder and Adhesive Capsulitis?
- Waking up with neck pain? Find the right pillow for Neck Pain.
- To Manipulate Or Not To Manipulate?
- Temporomandibular Joint: Jaw Pain? Physiotherapy Can Help.
- Causing Most Of The World’s Pain, Anonymously – Myofascial Trigger Points
- Sleeping Positions
- Another source for shoulder pain: Could it be the AC joint dysfunction?