WHIPLASH AND CERVICAL SPINE INJURIES; A DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL CAUSE

A critical whiplash injury can result in immediate hyperflexion, hyperextension and ever a severe rotation in the neck tearing apart the ligaments, tendons and soft tissues residing in the specific area. This results in neck pain, stiffness and even an affected vertebra if we speak about the serious impact of a Whiplash injury

Sometimes the injury is not confined to the neck, as the excess damage can also result in a damaged spine and several other cervical issues. If you are concerned that you’re suffering from an injury as a result of an accident, make sure to get yourself a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer to see if you are due compensation! 

Types of Whiplash Injury

Common Cervical Injuries

These are more or less a normal hyperextension injury that usually occurs on the road. This results in when a car with quite a slow speed strikes a vehicle in front of them. This will result in the body being dragged forward while he head lagging behind. This sudden movement allows a hyperextension until the tissues and muscles tear into flexion.

Swift Deceleration

In this case, the method of obtaining the injury is different. The head flexes forward causing unnecessary stretches and arches in the cervical spine. This may seem like a matter of seconds but can end up causing brain damage and even problems standing up properly. This also results in severe hyperextension making the patient unable to move or even stand up properly.

Classification of a Whiplash Injury

The severity and complexity of a whiplash injury can be classified into five major stages:

·         Grade zero

The patient experiences no signs of pain or any form of complaint that can be considered as a basic symptom of whiplash.

·         Grade one

A grade one level patient will mostly complain of having neck pain or let’s say a headache but there will be no physical deformities or complexities.

·         Grade two

These patients will specify the signs of neck pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion as well as problems with the muscles and bones – a musculoskeletal issue as they say.

·         Grade three

The victims usually indicate an issue with their neck and sometimes neurological problems like lack of focus or brain being diverted to other activities, mood swings and irritation.

·         Grade four

The patient would be suffering from intense neck pain, fractures and cervical spine injuries. This can also affect walking and move capabilities to a large extent.

The classification of whiplash injury depends entirely upon the severity of the bump that was endured or caused by the patient; however, seeking medical treatment and advice on the smallest of symptoms is extremely important as it can lead to several major issues in the future.

Patients with an injury of grade 4 level are mostly associated with the spine and can lead to long-term effects. This can damage the entire standards of life and health of the victim as the spine is the core of the entire body. Any effect on the spine can lead to serious damage to the human skeletal system.

Factors Contributing towards the Severity of Spine Injury due to Whiplash

Several factors indicate the complexity of the cervical spine injury because of whiplash. The intensity of injury would depend on the severity of the accident.

High-Risk Factors

  • Being over the age of 60
  • Paraesthesia to an extreme extent meaning immense pressure and tingling sensations in the nerves
  • A hazardous way of getting an injury like falling from a height of more than a meter or getting in an accident where the vehicle speed exceeds 100 km/h or a sudden ejection from the vehicle.
  • Inability to move or even stand up on feet without causing acute pain in the entire cervical region.
  • Any form of driving within an axis that causes direct load on the head and neck.

Low-Risk Factors

  • Being in an accident with vehicles at normal speed that does not lead to any bone damage.
  • Being able to walk despite pain and tenderness in the cervical spine region.
  • Being able to sit easily without support
  • Neck pain that reduces the range of motion

Diagnosis

The spine is a very critical part of the human body. With the entire skeletal system and human base dependent upon the spine, it is important to seek treatment as soon as the patient feels a hint of pain.

A whiplash of severe intensity can also cause the following issues with the spine:

  • Spinal Fracture
  • Meningitis
  • Herniation of the cervical disk
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

These injuries can be occurred due to the hyperextension and rotation of the neck hence seeking immediate medical care becomes compulsory. If there are no fractures yet the patient can feel pain and tenderness in the spine, it is important to seek medical care as a whiplash tearing apart soft tissues and ligaments can have a lasting impact.

Treatment

The strong impact of a whiplash injury can lead the patient straight to the emergency room where the doctor will involve him in a set number of procedures and tests to confirm the severity to suggest a reasonable diagnosis.

·         X-Rays

General X-rays are conducted for the patients that involve vertical, lateral and even anteroposterior views to determine the impact of the injury.

·         CT scan

A CT scan is to be performed on the patient to determine the damage and if the patient is suffering from extreme trauma like symptoms of Coma, deformed spine.

·         MRI Scan

If the patient is diagnosed with physical and mental trauma, then an MRI scan becomes compulsory. This makes the doctors’ job easier and also allows them to detect the severity of the issue arising from the whiplash

·         Specialist Doctors

When the issue is as complicated as the spine and the cervical spine area has faced a deformity because of the whiplash, it is compulsory to see a specialist doctor such as the orthopedic who will definitely look forward to fixing a complicated case like the spinal disorders and deformities.

Conclusion

Issues related to the spine can become complicated if not treated at the right moment. The impact of a Whiplash injury has a great effect on the spine. If there is any deformity in the spine it can lead to complications for a longer time. Avoid any mishap by getting a specialist doctor to treat your spinal injuries as soon as you meet a severe whiplash injury.