Many different injuries can occur during car accidents. Whiplash is the most common injury received from a car accident. This injury occurs while driving or riding in a car that is struck from behind or that collides with another object. When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine and head can be overstretched or torn. As a result, the soft pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear, or rupture.
Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position and this will reduced the range of motion. The spinal cord and nerve roots in the neck can get stretched and irritated.
Even though the car may have received little damage, the passengers can suffer serious spinal injury. The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissue can result in headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulder, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and even lower back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear for weeks or even months after the initial accident.