Possible Whiplash injury after a car crash

Patient

Q: I had neck surgery in sept 2011 and three months later someone hit me from behind at 40 mph all my pains have come back 10 times worse an now the last 2 days i have woke up to my thumbs locking in to place hurting what could this be

Doctor

A:   You are most likely experiencing the sequels of the Whiplash injury (abrupt cervical acceleration-deceleration) produced by the car crash when hit from behind. The whiplash injury is one of the most common cause of cervical strain and also one of the most common sequels of nonfatal car injuries, and the severity of the trauma often not correlated with the seriousness of the clinical problems. A history of neck injury is a significant risk factor for chronic neck pain; in your case you have previous history of neck surgery for cervical symptoms. Other complications besides the pain include: spinal cord compression, strains or tears of the anterior spinal ligaments, shoulder pain, muscular weakness of the arms. MRI, computed tomography (CT) or myelography is necessary for the diagnosis. I suggest an evaluation by your doctor and treatment accordingly.

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