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What is whiplash?

It can happen without any warning: you are driving along Georgia roadways, you stop at an intersection or railway crossing, and all of a sudden you feel a jolt from behind as another vehicle crashes into yours. You may feel fine initially after the accident, but within 24 hours (sometimes longer) you may develop symptoms of neck stiffness and pain, shoulder tenderness or headaches that may indicate a case of whiplash.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a rear-end auto accident is the most common cause of the neck injury known as whiplash. It is so called because the rapid, forceful, back-and-forth movement of the head and neck that causes it resembles the cracking of a whip. 

Muscles, ligaments, nerves and other neck tissues, as well as the bones of the spine and the cartilaginous disks in between them, can all sustain injury from quick and forceful forward-and-back motion of the head, such as that you may experience from a rear-end collision. That is why it is important to see a doctor following a car accident to assess the cause of your symptoms.

In addition to neck complaints, whiplash can cause other symptoms such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, dizziness, fatigue, arm tingling or numbness, memory problems, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating and psychological symptoms such as depression or irritability. 

While some people with whiplash may develop long-term complications such as chronic pain, most cases of whiplash heal within a matter of weeks. Treatment options may include pain relievers or other medications, application of heat or cold, stretching exercises to maintain your neck's range of motion and/or physical therapy.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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