Folks often associate the term whiplash with accident injuries and related lawsuits, but this type of injury is probably the most common one to have in a car accident due to how the body reacts inside a car when hit.
The energy of a car accident is first absorbed and released into the car when hit. This causes the entire vehicle to either stop or move in a different direction than planned.
This can result in the body being thrown forward or sideways and jerked violently back. When this happens, the neck and spine go through an intense series of forces while the muscles react and try to slow things down.
Muscles and soft tissue can be sprained, pulled, torn and misaligned. The result is most frequently felt as whiplash.
For example, a car is hit from behind. The driver is inside and at first feels a sudden force move his car forward and the back of his head hit the seat top. Then his car stops moving forward from the impact by hitting something else or braking.
Unfortunately, the driver is still traveling forward now so his head and neck get thrown violently forward to only be pulled back again by the seat belt. Visualizing this torqueing effect makes it very obvious why an injury will occur and why it was named whiplash.
This kind of injury can leave lasting effects and severe pain, so fast medical response is a must.