Whiplash is one of the injuries that you can suffer following a car accident. It involves the hyperextension of the neck and direct injury in the spine that may also involve muscle sprain around the cervical area. Whiplash injury is a common injury following accidents, but it is also one of the more serious spinal injuries that you can experience. The term whiplash injury comes from the back and fort motion of the neck in a fast speed tearing the soft structures in the cervical spine such as the ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Whiplash injury can cause severe headache and neck stiffness and can radiate to the shoulders as well. For more intense impact, a spinal cord injury can also be experienced. Everyone who owns, drives or rides a car can suffer from whiplash accidentally so prevention is the key to keeping your spine intact and uninjured. The following are some of the important measures that you can employ to prevent whiplash injury to you and your family:
• Buy a car with excellent rear-crash ratings.
Rear collision is the most common accident that causes whiplash because the impact on the rear side is enough to throw your neck backwards and forwards. Check with consumer reports to determine which car has a good rating.
• Adjust the head rest
Make sure that the head rest supports the rest of your neck and back of the head. Head rests usually are adjustable on top of the back rest and you may add some cushion for more comfort and support. Also, your head should be as close as possible to the head rest because this will keep your head from jerking backwards if a collision or a sudden break happens.
• Wear your seat belt all the time
Wearing your seat belt will not only avoid whiplash, but will also prevent you from flying to the windshield. All passengers in the car should also wear their seat belts and properly secure them according to age. Also, inspect car seats for babies and children so you are ensured that they are properly secured.
• Drive carefully
Nothing beats safe driving in preventing a whiplash. Don’t over speed and overtake cars in front of you. Maintain one car distance between you and the vehicle in front so you won’t go into collision and you won’t need to hit the break suddenly.
• Use protective wear during times when whiplash injury is more likely
Whiplash injury does not only happen when riding a vehicle, but in other instances too. Rides in amusement parks can also possibly cause whiplash injury so wear your cervical collar when you think you are going to a very intense ride.
• Employ stretching and strengthening exercises of the neck
Stretching exercises helps the muscles around the neck to be stronger to support the cervical spine. It also prevents possible neck strains that may develop even without a whiplash injury.
Whiplash injury may be a common injury, but you won’t know when you can experience a very severe accident that can break your neck and spine. In this line, make sure that you are geared with the right equipment before driving and always remember to drive safely.