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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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MVA Whiplash Anatomy

MVA whiplash injury or cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) injury usually refers to injuries to the soft tissues of the neck.  The muscles, tendons and ligaments that hold the head up and allow us to turn our attention where its needed. Whiplash causes damages including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering so it is important for the personal injury attorney to have a working knowledge of the anatomy involved.

An intervertebral disc is made of connective tissue that separates the two vertebrae of the spinal segment. The disc works like a shock absorber, protecting the spine against the daily pull of gravity and during activities that put strong force on the spine, such as jumping, running, and lifting.

An intervertebral disc is like a jelly donut, with the center nucleus providing most of the ability to absorb shock. The nucleus is held in place by the annulus, a series of strong ligament rings surrounding it. Ligaments are strong connective tissues that attach bones to other bones.

There are two facet joints between each pair of vertebrae-one on each side of the spine. The surfaces of the facet joints are covered by a smooth, rubbery articular cartilage that covers the ends of most joints allowing the bone ends to slide against each other smoothly, without pain. The alignment of the facet joints of the cervical spine allows freedom of movement as you bend and turn your neck.

When the head and neck are suddenly and forcefully whipped forward and back, mechanical forces place excessive stress on the cervical spine. Traumatic disc rupture and soft tissue damage can occur. The cartilage between the disc and the vertebral bone is often cracked. This is known as a rim lesion. Damage to the disc can put pressure on the nerves as they exit the spine. The pressure or irritation can be felt as numbness on the skin, weakness in the muscles, or pain along the path of the nerve, called a pinched nerve or cervical radiculopathy.

Soft tissue around the facet joint can be injured. Many of the pain-sensing nerves of the spine are in the facet joints. The normally smooth surfaces on which these joints glide can become rough, irritated, and inflamed.

The muscles of the neck sense sudden changes in tension and respond quickly. Tiny spindles in the muscles signal the need for more muscle tension to hold against the sudden shift in position. The result is often muscle spasm, inflammation and stiffness. Source eorthopod.com.

McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin engage expert opinions in appropriate cases to prove the causal connection between mva whiplash and damages such as medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering.

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