Car accident victims can suffer whiplash injuries even in car accidents that appear relatively minor. A whiplash injury is often misunderstood and mistreated but can lead to loss of mobility, chronic pain, disability and symptoms including anxiety and depression.
What Is Whiplash?
A whiplash injury is a term that can be used to describe an injury to the bone structures and the soft tissues of the neck. These injuries can occur when a person’s neck rapidly moves forward and then backwards when the vehicle they are riding in struck from behind or involved in an accident. While not a life-threatening injury, it lead to partial disability which requires medical care.
Many people recover from a few weeks to a few months after their car accident, however some whiplash injuries have lingering effects without proper treatment.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Symptoms can include neck stiffness, pain, headache, shoulder pain and stiffness. Sometimes patients can also experience jaw pain, weakness in the limbs, visual disturbances, ringing in the ears and problems with vision.
Whenever a person suffers chronic pain, they can also experience depression, anxiety, stress, problems with sleep, frustration and anger.
After an accident, a patient will need to be examined by a physician to determine if there are injuries which require treatment. Based on reported symptoms and an examination, the doctor may prescribe a cervical collar around the neck. The doctor may also order x-rays to check for serious injuries. If the x-rays are normal but the patient still has pain, there may be soft tissue damage which does not show up on normal x-rays. MRI exams may be used to detect injuries to the soft tissues.
Treatment for Whiplash
Treatment for whiplash injury can vary but the injury often requires immobilization of the neck for a short period with a cervical collar followed by physical therapy. Studies have found that wearing a collar for too long can actually cause the muscles to atrophy. It is important that medical treatment be sought soon after the accident and treatment started as early as possible.
Contact An Attorney
If you’ve been diagnosed with whiplash or any other car accident related injury, make sure to contact an attorney to discuss you options.