Whiplash is an injury to the neck (the cervical vertebrae) resulting from rapid acceleration or deceleration (as in an automobile accident.
Whiplash and whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) represent a range of injuries to the neck caused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck.
Whiplash is commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents, usually when the vehicle has been hit in the rear; however, the injury can be sustained in many other ways, including falls from bicycles or horses. It stands out as one of the main injuries covered by the car insurers. In UK, 430,000 people made a claim for whiplash in 2007 (75% of the UK's motor insurance claims), accounting for 14% of every driver's premium.
The symptoms of the whiplash reported by sufferers include: pain and aching to the neck and back, referred pain to the shoulders, sensory disturbance (such as pins and needles) to the arms & legs and headaches. Symptoms can appear directly after the injury, but often are not felt until days afterwards. Whiplash is usually confined to the spinal cord, and the most common areas of the spinal cord affected by whiplash are the neck, and the mid-back (middle of the spine).
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