Last Updated: May 2nd, 2022 at 3:15 pm
Read Time: 5 Minutes
More than 3 million new cases of whiplash occur across the country each year. Of these cases, one in every 50 develops chronic pain that requires ongoing medical care. One in 100 suffers lifelong chronic pain.
Whiplash injuries cannot and should not be dismissed after an accident. If you have recently suffered whiplash injuries due to someone else’s negligence, seek treatment – before you end up the one in 100.
How Does Whiplash Occur?
Whiplash is the overarching term for a neck injury that was caused by an abrupt whipping motion of the head. A whiplash injury occurs when a person’s head rapidly rushes forward and then immediately jerks backward. This motion causes the muscles and tendons of the neck to stretch and tear, creating pain, inflammation, and stiffness at the site of injury.
Whiplash can be classified as a neck strain or a neck sprain. When the muscles and tendons of the neck are injured, we refer to it as a neck strain. When the ligaments of the neck are damaged, the injury is referred to as a neck sprain.
The extent of whiplash generally depends on the type of accident that occurred. Realistically, whiplash can be caused by any sudden impact that forces the head backward or forward. Most commonly, whiplash is caused by:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Contact sports
- Slip and falls
When to See a Doctor for Whiplash?
Though it might sound cliche, the best time to see a doctor for whiplash is as soon as physically possible.
Whiplash is a delayed-symptom injury. This means that even if you’ve suffered extreme trauma to the neck or cervical spine, your body may not experience any symptoms for 24 to 72 hours after the accident occurred. This is incredibly problematic for many reasons. For one, you rely on your neck to support your head, to keep you balanced, and to provide motion to your upper body.
But, from a physiological perspective, your neck is a passageway for dozens of critical nerves that control vital senses such as sight and hearing. Leaving your whiplash injuries untreated, even for a few days, can result in irreversible damage to the neck and head.
Indicative Symptoms of Whiplash
A whiplash injury typically presents a variety of symptoms, including, but not limited to:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Tingling and numbness in the arms
- Worsening of pain with neck movement
- Headaches which begin at the base of the skull
- Tenderness or pain in the upper back, arms, or shoulders
In more extreme cases, some whiplash victims also experience:
- Blurred vision
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Depression and irritability
How to Treat Whiplash?
The first step in treating whiplash is properly diagnosing the injury. It is critical that if you’ve suffered neck trauma from an accident that you visit the emergency room, your general practitioner, a chiropractor, or other physician for proper evaluation. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits will help cover these medical costs. If your injury was sustained through a fall or sporting event, your health insurance would help pay for medical expenses.
Once a medical professional has administered a physical examination, they will likely request medical image testing such as x-ray or MRI to provide an unobstructed view of your spine. Then, your physician can provide an accurate diagnosis. From there, the most essential step is to stabilize the neck.
Treatment protocol to re-stabilize injured neck tissue and alleviate whiplash injuries includes:
- Wearing a neck brace for stability
- Hot and cold therapy
- Muscle relaxants
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Therapeutic massage
- Numbing injections, such as Xylocaine
- Over-the-counter and prescription medications
The Danger of Untreated Whiplash
It takes 17 weeks to re-stabilize the neck after a severe whiplash injury. In 75 percent of patients, symptoms of whiplash last 6 months or longer, even after stabilization. More than 50 percent of patients will still have chronic pain even 20 years post-injury.
When left untreated, whiplash can result in a lifetime of pain. Moreover, a whiplash injury carries a variety of frightening complications. Tinnitus, or ringing of the ears, can become constant. In fact, whiplash can result in permanent hearing issues, including muffled sounds and difficulty hearing or comprehending words. Damage to the head or brain caused by whiplash can also affect vision and cause visual dysfunction. More severe trauma can cause permanent blindness, double vision, or difficulty focusing.
Seeking Guidance for Your Whiplash Injury
Whiplash injuries can happen in the blink of an eye but can cause lifelong consequences. In addition to the pile of medical bills that can accrue, you’ll likely be left to handle lost wages and precious time lost to pain and suffering. You do not have to be in this fight against whiplash alone.
At Weinstein Legal, our trusted whiplash lawyers have years of experience defending those who suffered life-changing whiplash injuries. After you’ve been harmed by another’s negligence, such as in an auto accident or slip and fall on another’s property, your concurrent medical bills should not be left to you – the person who caused your injuries should be held responsible. The knowledgeable whiplash lawyers at Weinstein Legal will help you accumulate all necessary paperwork and evidence to file a personal injury claim on your behalf.
Do not let your accident injuries define your life. The whiplash lawyers of Weinstein Legal are prepared to fight for your right to compensation so that 20 years down the line your whiplash injury will be a thing of the past.