If you have been in a car wreck, seek medical attention first. Just because it was not a "major" accident does not mean you were not injured. In fact, slow speed car accidents often cause more long term and chronic pain injuries. The most common of these injuries is whiplash. The only people that can properly diagnose if you have been injured are doctors that treat car accident patients.
The most common mistake people make after an accident is waiting to see if they are hurt. The police officers investigating an accident, insurance adjusters, friends, family, and even other people in the accident think they are helping when they tell you not to worry about it, but unless that advice is coming from a doctor, don't listen.
What Exactly is Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash is a non-medical term describing a range of injuries to the neckcaused by or related to a sudden distortion of the neck associated withextension, although the exact injury mechanism(s) remain unknown. The term "whiplash" is a colloquialism. "Cervical acceleration-deceleration" (CAD) describes the mechanism of the injury, while the term "whiplash associated disorders" (WAD) describes the injury sequelae and symptoms
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 headbanging, bungee jumping and falls. It is one of the main injuries covered by insurance. In the United Kingdom, 430,000 people made an insurance claim for whiplash in 2007, accounting for 14% of every driver's premium.
Before the invention of the car, whiplash injuries were called "railway spine" as they were noted mostly in connection with train collisions. The first case of severe neck pain arising from a train collision was documented around 1919. The number of whiplash injuries has since risen sharply due to rear-end motor vehicle collisions. Given the wide variety of symptoms associated with whiplash injuries, the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders coined the phrase 'Whiplash-Associated Disorders'.
Symptoms 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 and legs, and headaches. Symptoms can appear directly after the injury, but often are not felt until days afterwards. Whiplash is usually confined to the spine. The most common areas of the spine affected by whiplash are the neck and middle of the spine. "Neck" pain is very common between the shoulder and the neck. The "missing link" of whiplash may be towards or inside the shoulder and this would explain why neck therapy alone frequently does not give lasting relief.
Cognitive symptoms following whiplash trauma, such as being easily distracted or irritated, seems to be common and possibly linked to a poorer prognosis.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,328 people killed – and crashes resulting in an injury – with 421,000 people wounded.
- Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger, according to a Pew survey.
- The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
- Eleven percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an automobile accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed.