What You Need to Know About Whiplash Injuries
What is a whiplash injury? Many people get confused when they hear about the severity and nature of this injury. Of course, there’s a literal term that refers to the cracking of a whip. Then, there’s a colloquialism that refers to a neck injury.
Whiplash is a common injury that typically happens during car accidents, particularly rear-end car collisions. If you happen to be in a car accident and suffer whiplash, you should immediately get a medical examination. It’s also essential to contact a personal injury lawyer to help you with your legal claims.
In this blog post, you will learn about whiplash injury and how a person feels when suffering from it. You'll learn the reasons you should seek out the help of a medical professional and a whiplash lawyer in South Florida.
What occurs during a whiplash injury?
Whiplash injuries occur when a sudden impact causes the head and cervical spine to move forward and backward rapidly. This type of injury is common after a motor vehicle accident. However, it can also be a sports injury, which is common in contact sports like football.
Whiplash – known also as cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome in the medical field - typically involves the nerves, discs, muscles, and tendons in your neck. When these parts of your neck overextend due to a sudden force, it’s more likely you’ll sustain a whiplash injury.
How does a whiplash injury feel?
Symptoms of whiplash commonly manifest themselves within 24 hours following the accident that brought about the injury. Sometimes, they may only appear within a few days. The person suffering from whiplash can feel the symptoms for several days or weeks after the date of the injury.
Below is a list of common symptoms that you may feel when you have whiplash.
You may suffer pain in your neck ranging from mild to severe. This is due to muscle and ligament neck strains or sprains. Injuries can also bring pain to the bones, joints, or discs. Although it’s less common, your neck will suffer chronic pain (a type of pain that persists for more than 12 weeks).
Your neck may not perform its usual range of motion because of pain, joint problem, or muscle rigidity.
Instability of the neck
This symptom typically occurs because of torn or overstretched soft tissues. Sometimes, a fracture can also cause neck instability.
Upper back and/or shoulder pain
You’ll experience pain in your shoulders and upper back from soft tissue injuries like torn ligaments.
Numbness or tingling sensation
Inflammation or compression on your cervical spine's nerve roots may result in numbness or tingling sensation from your shoulder down to your fingers. A common occurrence of this symptom only affects one side of your body. However, if two or more nerve roots are damaged, the numbness or tingling sensation can happen on both sides of your body.
This symptom takes place when the joint or nerve of your neck gets irritated. A tightening of the muscles in your neck can also bring headaches.
Whiplash associated disorders and other less common symptoms:
Problems with the eyesight
If the nerves in your cervical spine get damaged, or you suffer a concussion due to whiplash, your eyesight may get blurry.
Concussion or neck instability can cause dizziness to a person suffering from a whiplash injury.
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
Whiplash associated disorders, such as stress, jaw injury, nerve damage, or brain injury, can lead to buzzing or ringing in the ears. This symptom can range from sporadic to persistent.
It can be difficult falling asleep from stress, pain, concussion, and other problems related to the injuries.
Problems with speaking, chewing and swallowing
Trauma to your jaw muscles, esophagus, or larynx may lead to pain or immobility, which prevents you from performing such tasks.
Concentration or memory problems
Whiplash can cause cognitive problems, such as difficulty thinking and concentrating. Such symptoms may appear immediately after the incident, or they might not manifest until days later. One factor for these symptoms is an injury to the part of the brain or stress.
Mood changes and other emotional problems
Someone who is suffering from a whiplash injury may feel anxiety, irritability, and depression. These symptoms may be because of pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or concussion.
Symptoms mentioned above, such as concussion, pain, stress, and lack of sleep, may lead to tiredness and fatigue.
How is whiplash diagnosed?
A clinician performs the diagnosis of a whiplash injury. When you’re experiencing symptoms associated with whiplash, the doctor will take your medical history and conduct a physical exam on you. They will also carry out diagnostic imaging (usually if there’s a suspicion of a neurological problem or fracture).
- The first step is that the doctor will gather information, such as pre-existing medical problems, medical history in your family, and health considerations. Then, they will ask questions about the present symptoms you’re experiencing and how they started.
- For the physical examination, the doctor will observe your posture and examine your neck for issues, such as misalignment. The doctor will also check your neck's mobility, reflexes, sensation, and muscle power.
- The clinician will then perform diagnostic imaging, such as X-ray, bone scan, MRI scan, or a CT scan. This is if they suspect that you have a neurological issue or fracture.
Treatment for Whiplash Injury
There are various methods to treat a whiplash injury. However, it’s necessary to seek medical advice from a licensed medical professional before any treatment.
Self-Care Treatment Methods
· Application of ice or heat on the affected area of the neck sprain. You can alternate the ice/heat application within a few days following the injury.
· Taking pain relievers that you can buy over the counter, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen.
· Taking a rest or limiting the movement of the affected part of the body.
· Taking prescription drugs (e.g., muscle relaxants and other pain medications)
· Physical therapy
· Psychological therapy
· Injections (e.g., trigger point injection, cervical facet joint injection, and cervical epidural steroid injection)
· Chiropractic adjustment
· Radiofrequency neurotomy
· Massage therapy
How can a whiplash injury lawyer help?
If you are in a car accident, a personal injury attorney may be able to assist you in your injury claim. A legal expert is able to reduce the stress following the aftermath of the accident. They take the stress of dealing with the insurance companies away from you as you seek the medical care and treatment you need for your injuries.
Be sure to look for a lawyer with experience and expertise in dealing with cases related to personal injury claims. If you have an attorney who has an excellent track record, you’ll have more confidence in winning if your claim goes to trial.
How to Contact a Lawyer for Whiplash Injury
Whiplash can cause some undesirable long-term effects if you don’t seek treatment for it. If you get this type of injury, get a physical injury attorney's services to listen to the details of your case. If you want to learn more about your options when you sustain a whiplash injury, call 888-626-1108 to speak to a member of the Weinstein Legal team today.