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Confusion Over When Neck Injury Turns To Whiplash Injury

Women in neck brace at the doctors
14th May 2014
It has been estimated that claim for whiplash have been shown to be genuine claimants. Meanwhile, it has also been previously found that around 4 in 10 of whiplash sufferers will never actually make any form of claim (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers).

As has been often pointed out, the forces involved which place severe force on the soft tissue and muscles of the neck, as well as impacting the head and shoulders can have numerous consequences resulting in injuries affecting the vertebra, spinal column, ligaments, nerves, blood supply and possible psychological reactions.

In addition to the excessive movement which causes whiplash, there can also be the symptoms of a minor ‘neck injury’, which can still cause discomfort, pain, restrict movement over a lengthy period. They may yet be diagnosed as whiplash if other symptoms later emerge - as they are often known to do – such as dizziness, headaches, fatigue or loss of appetite.

The distinctions between a neck injury and the potentially more serious whiplash injury should never be underestimated, and will always require diagnosis by a doctor’s full examination. However, there are several common types of neck pain and their explanations, which may be more readily recognised:

Muscle strain - while whiplash injury is more likely to take place when the head is jerked back and forth under the impact of a car collision, muscle strain occurs through sudden overuse after extended inactivity. Typical examples are long periods driving in a car or sat at an office desk. Stress and worry can also cause muscle tightening and continuous muscle strain resulting in chronic neck pain.

Pinched nerves - muscle strain can also lead to a herniated or ‘slipped disc’ as tightened muscles press on the nerves. Intervertebral discs can also dry out over time, constricting the spinal column. Irritated nerves can also result in temporary and recurring acute neck pain.

Osteoarthritis – caused by the deterioration of the neck joints with advancing age and leading to a breakdown of the cartilage and weakened discs. Consequently, the development of bony growths can eventually make the neck very stiff and extremely painful to move.