Whiplash - Description

About one million whiplash injuries occur in the United States every year. Most occur during car accidents or sporting events. In such cases, an unexpected force jerks the head backward and then, almost immediately, forward causing the bones of the neck to snap out of position. Nerves in the neck may be pinched, resulting in damage to or destruction of certain body parts.

Poor driving habits can increase the risk of whiplash injury. A person who is tired, tense, or under the influence of alcohol may drive carelessly. Bad weather conditions can also increase the chance of an accident. Finally, the medical condition known as osteoarthritis (pronounced AHS-tee-oh-arr-THRY-tiss), which weakens the joint cartilage, increases the risk of whiplash injury (see arthritis entry).

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