Whiplash occurs when there is an abrupt jerking motion of the head, usually during a car accident. Whiplash can cause extreme pain and long-term reduced mobility and discomfort, and although it can happen to anyone, it occurs most often in men aged 30 to 50 years.

The human head weighs an average of 14 pounds, and there are seven small bones in the neck that hold that weight. It is important that the neck bones maintain an accurate curvature, otherwise the spinal cord can become pinched and it can affect a person’s ability to move, balance, and function properly.

What most people don’t know is that whiplash can occur even during a car accident in which the cars are only traveling at 5-10 mph. It doesn’t take a lot for whiplash to occur and cause serious injuries.

Sometimes it’s hard to know whiplash is the culprit of certain injuries and illnesses. That’s because when the spinal cord is pinched, it may reduce the blood supply to certain organs in the body. When the organ begins to fail, many people fail to connect their symptoms to the whiplash they received days, months, or even years before. Also, whiplash symptoms can last for more than 6 months in more than 75 percent of patients, and even longer in those who are not treated.

So, how do you know you have whiplash? Common symptoms include:

  • neck and shoulder pain
  • neck and shoulder swelling
  • muscle spasms
  • blurred vision
  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty moving
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • depression

It is extremely important to seek medical attention after experiencing whiplash, even if your symptoms are not immediately apparent. Typically, a doctor or chiropractor will conduct an examination, take X-rays, and make adjustments to any areas of the spine that are out of alignment. Sometimes, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines are also prescribed. Unfortunately, people who experience whiplash lose an average of 8 weeks of work. Because of the medical expenses and possible lost wages, it is also extremely important to contact a personal injury attorney who can help you recover any financial damages.