How Whiplash Can Cause Lasting Trauma & Pain
It can happen in a second without warning. Suddenly you are rear-ended while behind the wheel. Your head and neck snap back upon impact.
Whiplash is a quite common injury resulting from a rear-end collision with about 200,000 U.S. incidents a year. Just because it is a common injury does not mean you should ignore it.
You may not really feel the full impact at first, then the neck aches, the shoulders are tight. Under the surface there can be damage to muscles, tendons, and the spinal cord that need to be treated.
It is human nature to say, “I’m fine” and to want to get on with your normal life, but a delay in any treatment can have a lifelong impact. As part of your personal injury claim, make sure you are seen by a professional who can provide you with a prompt and accurate diagnosis to rule out broken bones and other damage so you can begin treatments as soon as possible.
What is Whiplash?
When a driver is stopped in her car and is hit from a fast-approaching car in the rear it forces the neck to be snapped back and forth like a whip, therefore its namesake. The neck is not an area that can withstand extremes in movement. This type of motion can injure the upper spinal cord bones, the discs between those bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tissues of the neck.
Not only an auto accident, but whiplash can occur during a physical assault. Shaken baby syndrome can result in whiplash as can contact sports such as football tackles.
Even a low-speed collision can cause whiplash to the point of injury ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Pain, a stiff neck, back and shoulders
- Migraine headaches
- Vision or hearing changes
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Loss of range of motion
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
You may also feel muscle spasms, a sensation of pins and needles, and nerve pain. Depending on the amount of damage done to tendons, muscles, and the spinal cord, these symptoms can last from weeks to months and even years.
Other symptoms may include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
Migraines may persist the longest, even with treatment. Severe whiplash can continue for years with migraines and neck stiffness as a symptom that may be felt for years. It is difficult to predict how long your whiplash will last.
Treatment for Whiplash
Treatment for whiplash generally starts conservatively with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice. If the pain persists, the next step is physical therapy. Prescription medications may follow including a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and muscle relaxers. Even injection into the neck may become part of the treatment plan.
Certain factors may worsen your outcome after a whiplash, among them:
- Being older
- Having an already existing low back or neck pain
- Having had whiplash before
- A high-speed injury
Your medical plan may include a visit to a chiropractor, stretching, physical therapy and massage. Mayo Clinic reports that most injured people will get better within a few weeks with the correct treatment plan. Others may have chronic neck pain and long-lasting complications.
Your Montgomery Auto Accident Attorney
We certainly hope you do not experience whiplash and if you do, that it is mild, and you return to health soon. However, in a severe whiplash case, the doctor may recommend further treatment that can exceed the cost of your insurance plan. If you need surgery or injections for pain, you will have to bear the cost of those procedures.
A personal injury claim against the at-fault driver will allow you to seek additional damages to cover your medical expenses. Auto accident and personal injury lawyer Chip Nix has helped many Alabama families navigate through this difficult time with his knowledge of the legal process and the compensation you are due. Call for a complimentary consultation at 334-279-7770 to begin the conversation.