Facet Joint or Whiplash Injuries in Auto Accidents

If you have been involved in an auto accident, whiplash injuries should be taken very seriously. Because symptoms of a whiplash injury can take weeks or months to manifest, it is easy to be fooled into thinking that you are not as injured as you really are. Too often, people don’t seek treatment for whiplash injuries following a car accident because they don’t feel hurt. If you have sustained a whiplash injury in an Oregon auto accident and you can’t get the settlement you need, call us for a free consultation at 541-617-0555.

Tim Williams Discusses Facet Joint or Whiplash Injury:


In the video above, Dwyer Williams Dretke PC’s lead litigation attorney and partner Tim Williams discusses whiplash injuries, which are technically called facet joint joint injuries. Whiplash is by far the most common neck injury. Whiplash is caused by a sudden backward, forward, or sideways movement of the head that results in the damage to supporting muscles, ligaments, and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back.

As Tim explains in his video, the human back is comprised of several layers of bone. Between the bones are disks. Toward the rear of the spine there are bony prominences, which attach to muscles, as well as sliding joints called facet joints. The purpose of a facet joint is to keep the back from moving too far in any direction. Without facet joints, the back could hyper-extend or even break.

The reason that facet joints can get injured is that there is a thin layer of cartilage between them, allowing them to slide. Facet joint accidents and injuries can occur when the cartilage on the inside gets torn because there will be pain-causing inflammation, which begets more inflammation and causes more pain. Alternatively, facet joint injuries can result from an actual separation or a complete dislocation of the facet joint itself.

Facet Joint Injuries Can Be Very Painful

Facet joint injuries typically resolve with minimal treatment; usually, anti-inflammatory and pain medications are all that facet joint injury victims will need to take in order to treat their injury and begin healing. Sometimes, however, injections must be made into the joint spaces themselves in order to alleviate the pain and inflammation. In rare instances, actual surgery must be performed to remove either the layer of smooth cartilage on the inside or, rarer still, the joint itself.

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