Out of all car accident injuries, whiplash is one of the most common. However, it’s also one of the least noticeable immediately following a crash. For this reason, many victims of whiplash discount their injury and avoid seeking medical help, which may jeopardize their accident claim. Here’s an overview of the injury and how to know if you have whiplash after a collision.
What Is Whiplash?
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a soft-tissue injury in the neck caused by “forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement.” This injury is most commonly associated with rear-end accidents, but it may occur in other incidents like falls. Depending on the severity of the injury itself, whiplash can cause damage to the muscles, ligaments, and nerves of the neck as well as the spine, discs, and surrounding bones. While minor whiplash might heal within a matter of weeks, more serious cases may result in life-long complications such as chronic pain.
Common Whiplash Symptoms
Although some victims experience the symptoms of whiplash right after their accident, others don’t notice symptoms for a few days. As a result, it’s often difficult to detect whether you have a whiplash injury. To know whether you have this type of injury, there are a few symptoms you should look out for, including:
- Pain or stiffness,
- Reduced range of motion,
- Headaches at the base of the skull,
- Tenderness in the shoulder or back,
- Tingling or numbness around the upper body,
- Blurred vision or dizziness,
- Temporary memory loss,
- Severe mood swings or irritability,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Ringing in the ears, and
- Chronic fatigue.
Of course, victims may not have all these symptoms at once. If you start having any combination of these symptoms after an accident, we recommend seeking prompt medical attention. Some of these signs worsen if left untreated, leading to more complications.
Treatments for Whiplash
The treatments for whiplash injuries vary widely depending on the seriousness of the pain and stiffness. Some symptoms improve over time with proper rest and hot or cold compresses, but others might require other solutions. For example, your doctor may recommend:
- Pain relievers. Usually, the first thing a doctor may recommend is over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This often works with mild to moderate pain.
- Prescription medications. If over-the-counter medications aren’t enough to control pain, you might receive prescription-strength medications.
- Muscle relaxants. For those whose muscles remain tight or have trouble sleeping, a doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants. These are typically short-term solutions.
- Physical therapy. It’s common for victims of whiplash to have reduced movement after they heal. To help with this, a doctor may put the victim in physical therapy to restore the range of motion in their neck and arms. It also helps strengthen the muscles in the affected area.
- Injections. Some people find that they can’t perform physical therapy due to the amount of pain they have. If other prescriptions don’t work, the doctor might give them an injection, such as lidocaine, to help numb painful areas.
These aren’t the only treatments for whiplash, but they are some of the most common. Ultimately, the treatment you receive depends on the severity of the injury and how it heals. Even a relatively minor accident can lead to a long whiplash recovery process.
Can You Make a Claim for a Whiplash Injury?
Yes, whiplash is a medical condition that you may seek compensation for after an accident. Despite this, insurance companies like to downplay the severity of this injury because it’s difficult to diagnose. This is why it’s essential you see a doctor immediately after your accident and consult an attorney about your claim. During the claims process, it’s incredibly important that you collect evidence related to your injury so that the insurance company doesn’t minimize or deny your claim.
Discuss Your Case with One of Our Attorneys Today
Still, have questions about how to know if you have whiplash? Or do you have a diagnosis of whiplash following an accident? At Silva Injury Law, we’re here to listen to your story and advise you on your next steps. With recognitions from Super Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers, we approach every case with unmatched compassion and professionalism. To us, our clients are our family. To set up a free consultation, please call today.
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