The vertebral column consists of a series of bones called vertebrae and intervertebral disc.
There are 33 vertebrae separated by intervertebral disc. Discs are bonded and inseparable from vertebral body.
Vertebral column protects spinal cord.
The vertebral column is divided into 5 segments:
- Cervical segment – with 7 vertebrae
- Thoracic segment consist of 12 vertebrae
- Lumbar segment has 5 vertebrae
- Five sacral segment has no disc and are fused together
- Four coccygeal vertebrae are rudimentary and also fused together
These vertebrae provide the stability to the torso and protects spinal cord and spinal nerve branching out from the spinal cord. Spinal nerve passes through a bony tunnel called foramina to all body organs and tissues. The vertebrae are connected to each other by strong band of tissue called ligament. Tendon connects vertebrae to muscles.
Most common whiplash injury following car accident or fall results in neck injury. Neck supports relatively heavy head and face. Neck is most flexible and vulnerable anatomical structure. Abrupt change of acceleration and speed during body in motion causes whiplash of head and neck with backward and forward movements of head.
Whiplash injury causes soft tissue injury like tear in the muscle, tendon, or ligament of the neck. Whiplash also causes disc herniation, bulge or subluxation resulting in pain caused by pinch nerve or spinal stenosis between upper and lower vertebrae.
The Whiplash Injury Symptoms that are often seen are pain, tingling, numbness and weakness. Severe dislocation of vertebrae can cause quadriplegia or paraplegia.
Treatment for Whiplash Injury:
Choice of treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
Choice of treatments available for whiplash injuries are as follows:
- Immobilization with neck brace or cervical collar
- Chiropractic Treatment
- Physical Therapy
- Cortisone Injection
- Nerve Ablation and
- Surgery in extreme circumstances.