Which Muscles are Affected Most by Whiplash ?

Whiplash is an umbrella term that is used in order to describe injuries that affect the cervical spine. The most common cause of whiplash is as the result of an automobile accident, as when such an accident occurs the head and neck are both suddenly forced to whip back and forth, which is known as hyperflexion and hyperextension. Part of understanding what whiplash is and how it affects the body has to do with understanding which muscles affected most by whiplash. This will help you understand what you are experiencing after an accident involving whiplash.

Which Muscles Affected Most by Whiplash

There are seven different cervical vertebrae in the neck, C1 through C7, and they are held together by way of muscles as well as ligaments and joints and intervertebral discs and a system made up of nerves. The joints are what is responsible for enabling movement. The complexity of the anatomy of the neck coupled with the dynamic and diverse range of motion that it offers makes the neck especially susceptible to injuries relating to whiplash. All of the parts of the neck are affected by whiplash injuries, because whiplash injuries involve the head being whipped back and forth, causing stress and injury to all of the many parts of the neck anatomy in the process.

Most of the symptoms that are associated with whiplash injuries result from an injury to the soft tissue in the neck, as well as the intervertebral discs, the muscles and the ligaments. When a muscle tear exists, the symptoms typically begin with a burning pain that is accompanied by a tingling sensation. When ligaments are affected, they can cause the muscles to tighten defensively which limits motion and causes what is known as wry neck. This is a condition that occurs when the muscles relied upon for head extension and rotation cause the neck to be twisted involuntarily.

The involvement of different parts of the anatomy of the neck will depend on the severity of the impact injury. The harder that the impact is causing the injury, generally the more damage is done when it comes to the delicate features of the neck like the ligaments and the muscles between the shoulders and the base of the skull.

Symptoms of Whiplash

There are a number of symptoms that are associated with whiplash related injuries, and these include:

  • Pain that is presenting itself in the neck and shoulders,
  • Stiffness and tenderness that are presenting themselves in the neck and shoulders,
  • Use special techniques such as sports massage to help to relax the muscles in your back and neck,
  • Dizziness and feelings of nausea,
  • Choose a rehabilitate program that is going to allow you to overcome the injury, the pinched or trapped nerve and the pain associated with the entire ordeal.
  • Pain that is presenting itself in the arms and shoulders,
  • Headache
  • Numbness and tingling, also known as paresthesia,
  • Blurriness in vision,
  • Difficulty swallowing in some rare instances,

Symptoms are generally capable of appearing as quickly as within two hours following the initial injury. They may progress from being mild to being much more severe in the hours following the initial injury.

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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