What is Hyperextension Injury Of The Neck & How is it Treated? | Is it Possible for a Child to Get Hyperextension Injury of the Neck?

What Is Hyperextension Injury Of The Neck?

Hyperextension injury of the neck occurs as a result of sudden and violent forwards and backwards movement of the neck and head.(1) Hyperextension injury of the neck is also termed as whiplash injury, as the abrupt movement is similar to the movement of a cracking whip.

What Are The Causes Of Hyperextension Injury Of The Neck?

Whiplash injury or Hyperextension Injury of the Neck usually occurs when someone is struck from behind in a motor vehicle accident. However, any forceful impact, which causes violent and forceful hyperextension and flexion of the neck, causes hyperextension injury of the neck.

Hyperextension injury of the neck is also associated with injury to the cervical muscles, intervertebral discs, ligaments and joints.

Describe The Symptoms Of Hyperextension Injury Of The Neck?

The first symptom, which the patient experiences when suffering from hyperextension injury of the neck, is neck pain.(1) This pain can be experienced immediately by the patient or can develop some days after the whiplash injury.

Other symptoms of hyperextension injury of the neck include: neck stiffness, worsening pain upon movement, dizziness, limited neck movement, headache, pain in the shoulders, myofascial injuries, paresthesias and back pain.(1)

What Is The Estimated Recovery Time For Hyperextension Injury Of The Neck?

Usually the pain in the neck and head experienced by the patient suffering from hyperextension injury of the neck subsides in a few days; or if not, in some weeks.

Most of the people suffering from hyperextension injury of the neck recover within three months after the injury.(1) There are few patients who continue to experience lingering headaches and neck pain as an aftermath of the whiplash injury.

Explain The Treatment For Hyperextension Injury Of The Neck?

Although the whiplash injury typically does not show in any imaging tests; however, imaging tests, such as x-rays, MRI and CT scan, can be ordered by the physician to look for some other conditions that can complicate the patient’s hyperextension injury of the neck.

After the diagnosis, the doctor will come up with a customized treatment plan for the patient to help manage pain and other symptoms along with restoring the normal range of neck motion.

Treatment strategies for hyperextension injury of the neck can include: rest, OTC pain medicines.(1), application of cold/heat, muscle relaxants, soft cervical collar and numbing injections.

Physical Therapy is recommended to the patient for restoring the range of motion of the neck.(1) Stretching and movement exercises can also be done by the patient under an expert’s guidance.

Is It Possible For A Child To Get Hyperextension Injury Of The Neck?

Yes, children can also suffer from a whiplash injury or hyperextension injury of the neck in the same manner as adults, that is, when their head is forcibly flung forwards and backwards in an accident. The diagnosis and treatment of hyperextension injury of the neck in a child is the same as that of the adults.

When To See A Doctor?

Consult your doctor immediately when suffering from neck pain or any other symptoms of hyperextension injury of the neck after any traumatic impact or car crash.

It is imperative to seek medical attention ASAP if there are accompanying signs of an injury to the spinal cord, such as:

  • Numbness in fingers, hand, feet or toes.
  • Lack of coordination, weakness or paralysis.
  • Impaired breathing.
  • Loss of bladder control.
  • If there is worsening of the symptoms or if new symptoms develop.

Conclusion

Hyperextension Injury of the Neck is known to layman as whiplash injury. This injury usually causes limited mobility of the neck and neck pain for many days; however, the symptoms gradually subside in few days.

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