A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye, but the aftereffects often persist much longer. For example, even a relatively minor fender-bender may cause whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the soft tissues in the neck such as tendons and ligaments are stretched beyond their typical range of motion. The impact of a traffic collision can jerk back a driver’s or passenger’s head and then snap it forward in a violent manner.
This type of injury may result in a host of problems. Among the most common symptoms are neck pain, limited range of movement and blurry vision. As a result, people who have suffered whiplash tend to have difficulty concentrating and trouble sleeping, and they often become irritable. The best treatments for whiplash include pain medication as well as relaxing the neck muscles with the application of heat. Doctors may also recommend stretching exercises or physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles and speed recovery time. Although immobilizing the neck was common practice for many years, recent research has found that this only lengthens the healing process.
When it comes to preventing whiplash, the most significant piece of advice is always to wear your seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle. In addition, make sure the headrests in your car or truck are at the proper height. This will ensure that you and your passengers have support and protection in the event of an accident.
Because whiplash can linger for a long time, it’s important to know what to do if it happens to you. If you want to learn more about the symptoms as well as ways to treat and prevent this condition, take a look at the accompanying infographic.
Reid Zaritsky is Senior Vice President of Capital Auto Auction, a family-run business since 1988 that focuses on finding the right vehicles for families of all sizes. Zaritsky has been with the company since 2009, and has a background in science and engineering.