Whiplash is considered as a complex syndrome that is called as acceleration/deceleration injuries. These injuries commonly occur due to closed head trauma and vehicular accidents that are the prevalent cause of upsetting brain injury. In order to help out those who are involved in such accidents, you can enroll in a first aid course.
Whiplash involves the lashing motion of the head during an accident. Acceleration/deceleration is a precise description of what occurs within the skull. During a vehicular accident, the head and extremities continue to move in a forward manner despite the fact that the vehicle has already stopped. Take note that the head, legs and arms continue to accelerate until something stops them such as striking the dashboard. The similar action that occurs within the body as well as the brain remains moving in a forward manner until it is put in standstill by the skull. The brain slides in a back and forth manner inside the skull which is known as shearing.
It is important to note that there are two points of injury, one on the side of the brain where it strikes the skull and the other on the opposite side of the brain where it impacted due to sliding motion of the brain.
What are the causes?
Take note that rear end collisions are the usual causes of whiplash. Acceleration/deceleration injuries can also be caused by shaking a child in a violent manner which is called as the shaken baby syndrome. Even contact sports and other physical activities can also cause this type of brain injury.
Symptoms of acceleration/deceleration injuries
Acceleration/deceleration injuries can result to miniature focal lesions at two points in the brain – at the point of impact and at the opposite side. These focal lesions caused by this trauma can affect the language as well as lead to problems with perception, attention span and reasoning. The individual can also experience seizures. The symptoms of shaken baby syndrome include irritability, seizures, loss of consciousness and ceased breathing.
How acceleration/deceleration injuries are diagnosed
The diagnosis starts by assessing the cause of the accident. It is essential for the doctor to determine an acceleration/deceleration injury. In most cases, the doctor will conduct an examination including a neurological exam that tests the reflexes, mental status, pupil dilation and eye movement. The pressure inside the head will also be monitored while an MRI, X-ray or CT scan can be carried out to provide a visualization of the brain.
The treatment for acceleration/deceleration injuries focuses on minimizing the swelling, bleeding and bruising in the brain which causes the brain to press on the skull. The doctor will put a respirator on the individual since the hyperventilation will decrease the intracranial pressure. In some cases, a catheter will be placed inside the skull to drain away excess fluids.
The individual will be prescribed with anti-seizure medications as preventive measures. In case the intracranial pressure could not be reduced with medication, the surgeon might be required to remove a part of the skull to provide space for the swollen brain.