There you are, in a line of cars waiting for the light to change and suddenly, your car is jolted forward–rear-ended because the person behind you wasn’t paying attention. In the moment, physically, you feel fine. You’re shaken and angry because this alters your entire day. You step out of the car to examine the damage, and the process of dealing with the mishap begins. You don’t stop to consider the possibility of whiplash, because your focus is on the damage to the bumper of your car.

What Is Whiplash?

When your head and neck experience lightning-swift backward and forward motion, such as that which occurs when your car is rear-ended, the medical term is called cervical acceleration-deceleration, or CAD, syndrome. This is most commonly called whiplash. Such an injury can cause a variety of problems, some of which may be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can be complicated and long-lasting.  Known as whiplash associated disorders (WAD), these related issues can impact various aspects of your life.

While most cases of whiplash are due to car accidents, the injury is not limited to that situation. Whiplash can also occur any time the cervical spine is subjected to acceleration and deceleration. These injuries can happen with high-impact activities, such as certain amusement park rides. They also happen with activities like bungee jumping, football, horse-back riding, and riding the roller-coaster. While whiplash in these instances is not all that common, it can occur.


According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are two systems used in grading the severity of whiplash cases. The Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders (QTF-WAD) and the Croft grading system. The two systems were compared in grading various cases of whiplash, and the Croft system outperformed the QTF-WAD. Predictive measures for recovery status were better with the Croft system. The systems were developed in hopes of determining the outcomes for treatment of whiplash victims. As a result, there are different levels of whiplash injury.

Both systems of classification are used to determine the severity of the whiplash case. Many Chiropractors use the Croft Guidelines, and many physicians to use the QTF-WAD. Both systems have mild-to-severe designations for the disorder.

Symptoms and Prognosis for Mild Whiplash

In the case of mild whiplash, you may not feel immediate signs of a problem. Symptoms are delayed and may not manifest for hours or possibly a day or so after the injury. There is no spasm in the neck and you can still move your head. Your neck may be sore and you may have radiating discomfort but no localized tenderness in the neck area. Usually, recovery for mild whiplash takes anywhere from a few days to weeks. Most people who suffer from mild whiplash do not need to stop their regular daily activities. You will have aches and pains, however, keeping up a positive attitude and following your doctor’s recommendations will aid your swift recovery.

Mild cases of whiplash can be inconvenient and annoying. More severe cases can have a direct effect on your ability to function normally, and the damage can be temporary but long lasting, or it can be permanent. All cases of whiplash should be examined and treated promptly.

Some instances of injury will require legal aid in order to recover the costs associated with doctor’s bills and related expenses. When that’s the case, the law firm of Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. is just a phone call away. Always ready to help residents of Port Charlotte and the surrounding areas, we provide free initial consultations with attorneys who care.