The Silent Whiplash
If you've watched small kids tumble and play, it can seem pretty rough to an adult. As we age, we know that balancing on our heads or whipping our necks around can only cause trouble. Most adults understand this point but seem to think children are more immune to problems for some reason. But is this plausible? Are kids really injury-proof? Not likely and recent research shows that degeneration of the spinal disks can occur at a much earlier age than previously thought. MRI studies of child athletes show this to be the case.
So what happens when a kid takes a whollup to the head, or slips and falls onto the kitchen floor? Besides a blow to the head, the neck can and does get injured from these types of forces. Because of a child's age, the pain may only last a few days but a silent problem can develop. A small sprain to the ligaments of the neck that hold the vertebrae in their proper position can only be diagnosed through x-ray. But most kids don't get films taken. When the pain goes away we think the actual problem has gone away too.
Over time, the improper alignment and disrupted motion can lead to degeneration arthritis. This, in turn, will lead to stiffness and interfere with our quality of life.
So can a whiplash be a silent injury? Most likely yes, but over time it will eventually rear its ugly head. Then, when we finally visit a doctor, we are told of disk degeneration and we really don't know why this is the case. Is it old age? Well, the disks that are not degenerated are the same age as the disks that are a problem. So it really can't be an old age problem. Maybe it's an older discovery, but the problem existed long before. These minor tumbles and whiplashes we experience in our youth do have lasting consequences.