The term “Whiplash” originated in 1928 to describe the result of a sudden hyperextension injury of the neck immediately followed by hyperflexion injury and the resulting damage to the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons. Today we remove the “hyper” part referring to extension and flexion beyond the normal physical limits and define whiplash as an extremely rapid extension and flexion that causes injury as it is the suddenness of movement and not necessarily movement beyond what we can normally manage that causes the damage. Whiplash injuries are far from straightforward as they involve an unpredictable combination of injuries to the nervous system, muscles, joints, and connective tissues, which makes fully diagnosing whiplash difficult and treatment even more challenging. However, the longer term effects of an untreated or under treated whiplash can be even more distressing. To better understand why whiplash is so problematic, let’s look at the mechanics of how the injury occurs.
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