Whiplash What Is the Meaning?
This is a very interesting question that many people from the medical profession, the legal profession, the insurance industry and people like you and I are asking. Why is this the case? The answer is because it is so difficult to pin it down accurately.
Most dictionaries describe whiplash as “injury caused by a severe jerk to the head, typically in a car accident.” From that dictionary description we can add two more questions which are firstly, if the jerk is to the head why are people talking about “back” injuries and secondly are we talking about all car accidents or just certain car accidents?
Let us examine firstly what is a whiplash injury. As the dictionary says it is a jerk to the head and in a car accident your seat belt will stop your body from being propelled forward but your head is not in a harness, so it stretches the muscles in the neck causing damage to them in many cases. Now the argument comes when some people who have suffered whiplash injuries complain of back pain. Did this back pain come from a neck injury? To the pot you must add the simple fact that most adults suffer, long before any Whiplash injury, from back problems and injuries. So, to what extent has any Whiplash injury contributed to a worsening of the existing back injury or indeed has it contributed at all? Sometimes if the person has been treated by a Medical professional before the Whiplash injury then in some small way it is possible to be a little more accurate, but only a little bit more accurate about quantifying a diagnosis of the Whiplash injury. You can now see that the evaluation of a Whiplash injury is extremely problematic and the Insurance companies for example are very suspicious when it comes to evaluating Whiplash injuries. Indeed, they trot out on a regular basis that increases in car insurance premiums are to a large extent due to the many Whiplash injuries.
Although car accidents are responsible for Whiplash injuries they can occur when there is a sudden shock to the body from behind, such as a push or a very sudden deceleration. This gives you the clue to where car accidents happen to cause Whiplash injuries. They are almost all caused by the car being hit from behind causing as explained above the body to be propelled forward your seat belt will stop your body from being continually propelled forward but your head is not in a harness, so it stretches the muscles in the neck causing damage.
But not all people that are in a car that has been hit from behind suffer Whiplash injuries. I know a couple who were hit from behind by a Volvo estate. They were stationary, and the police estimated the Volvo was doing 80kph. The couple were in a BMW 3 and the seat belt stopped them going through the windscreen and pulled them backwards so that they both demolished the front seats and found themselves horizontal to the ground. One had a Whiplash injury the other did not.
Can you explain that?