What is it? How likely are you to get a whiplash? What are the long-term risks?

Whiplash is defined as an injury caused by a severe jerk of the head, causing it to go from front to back or side to side. Whiplash happens in a matter of seconds – more quickly than your tendons and muscles can protect you – and can cause injuries that include bulging discs and herniation, vertebral misalignment, injury to the spine, damaged nerves and torn ligaments and muscles within the neck.

Unfortunately, people oftentimes have sustained an injury and don’t recognize the signs of whiplash until much later when a chronic condition has set in and is multiplied by even more symptoms. Although people most often associate whiplash with car accidents, it can also happen during a number of sports activities, such as football, boxing, skiing, and hockey, to name a few. Even a carnival ride that has a whipping motion has been known to cause a whiplash injury.

Did you know:

– While most cars can take a 12-mph accident without much damage, whiplash can occur in as little as a 5-mph accident.

– Whiplash can develop over years if not treated properly.

– Whiplash can happen when someone falls.

Tips to reduce your risk of whiplash:

1) Raise the headrest in your car as high as it can go.

2) Always wear your seatbelt.

3) Put a small pillow behind your lower back when driving or riding.

4) Get check by a chiropractor immediately after any accident.

If you think you might have whiplash, be proactive and seek the advice of a professional who can assess the injury and treat it gently and non-invasively.