Driving a car is a risky activity, especially if you live in a densely-populated area like New Jersey. The most common injuries suffered as a result of car accidents all target the spinal cord and neck and back muscles. While you may not feel pain right away, it is important to note the sensations you experience to these parts of your body, particularly any lower back pain.
How Whiplash Affects the Neck and Back
Whiplash refers to a specific type of injury that affects soft tissues in the body, frequently in the neck and upper back following an automobile collision. Whiplash occurs in four phases and symptoms can take weeks or months to develop.
- Phase 1 of a whiplash injury – Your car begins to push out from underneath your body, causing the middle of your back to be pushed against the back of your seat. This results in a force that travels upward in your spine, which compresses the discs and joints. If the head of your seat is properly raised, the distance traveled by your head when it is abruptly yanked backward is diminished.
- Phase 2 your torso has reached peak acceleration – It is traveling twice as fast as your vehicle; however, your head has not caught up and continues moving toward the back. Your spine is shaped into an abnormal S-curve as the back of your seat springs forward, adding to the forward movement of your torso. Because this happens while your head is moving backward, a shearing force in the neck occurs resulting in one of the more damaging aspects of whiplash.
- Phase 3 of whiplash – Your torso descending back into your seat while your head and neck are at their peak acceleration moving forward. This occurs while your car is decelerating. Sometimes drivers step on the brakes again causing the car to slow down even faster, which increases the severity of whiplash.
During the final phase of whiplash, your upper body is restricted by your seatbelt while your head is loose and moves forward freely. The violent forward motion of your neck can cause serious damage to the soft tissues in this area of your body. This phase is the most violent and can cause the most harm.
At Garden State Pain Control we have a dedicated team of back pain specialists eager to resolve your issues regarding back pain, regardless of the cause of said back pain. Don’t shrug it off, make an appointment today by calling (973)-777-5444.