Whiplash results from sudden forceful movements causing soft-tissue damage to the neck’s ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Think of it as a swift jerking of the head, causing both backward and forward movements of the neck.
This injury, often arising from car accidents, also results from sports, falls, or even amusement park rides. Every year, roughly two million Americans experience whiplash, primarily from car rear-ends by distracted drivers.
Although not a medical term, “whiplash” is commonly used to describe a neck sprain or strain. Symptoms, including neck pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms, might surface days or even months after the accident. Early signs usually indicate a severe injury. Sometimes, symptoms reappear after seeming to dissipate. Associated conditions might include osteoarthritis or premature spinal aging.
Signs and symptoms of Whiplash
If you’ve been in an accident that caused hyperextension and hyper flexion, you may have whiplash if you begin to experience symptoms that include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Headaches, dizziness, or signs of concussion
- Muscle spasms near the neck
- Tingling in arms or legs
- Loss of limb function
- Back, jaw, or shoulder pain
- Blurred vision or ringing ears
- Concentration or memory issues
- Irritability or sleep problems
If this describes your situation, you should consult a doctor promptly. The sooner you seek medical treatment, the better your chance of recovery. It will also help you avoid a gap in treatment that might harm your chance of financial recovery in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
For immediate relief, opt for over-the-counter painkillers or NSAIDs. Severe cases might require prescription pain relief or muscle relaxants. Immediately post-accident, apply cold compresses to the neck. After a couple of days, switch to heat treatments. Refrain from heavy lifting and sports for a few weeks post-injury.
Previously, neck braces were the go-to solution. However, current treatments emphasize early motion and physical therapy over immobilization. Pain during movement might warrant a soft neck collar. In some cases, corticosteroid injections might be necessary. If symptoms persist beyond eight weeks, advanced diagnostic tests could be in order.
Persistent pain can haunt some victims, with 15-40% still feeling discomfort months post-injury. If traditional treatment isn’t effective, consider osteopathy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, or deep-tissue massage. Devices like the TENS unit might also help in pain management, especially when paired with exercises.
Though unexpected rear-end collisions can’t be predicted, reducing whiplash severity is possible. Adjust your headrest to be directly behind your head, aligning the middle with the top of your ears. In imminent crashes, lean back, touch the headrest, and keep muscles relaxed. Modern cars now include whiplash protection systems and have better rear-crash ratings, further mitigating potential injuries.
Experiencing Whiplash After an Accident
Are you experiencing whiplash resulting from an accident? Our dedicated Personal Injury Attorneys at TorkLaw have a proven track record in ensuring victims receive just compensation. If you’ve been hurt, trust our skilled negotiators and attorneys to champion your cause. Contact us now at 888.845.9696 for a comprehensive, free consultation.