Whiplash is an injury of the soft tissue of the neck, so called because the neck and head movement that causes this injury resembles someone cracking a whip. Drivers might suffer this injury if someone strikes their car from behind in a rear-end accident.
As described by MedicineNet.com, the driver’s head and neck moves at a high rate of speed in a hyperextended position (backward) while the car seat pushes the driver’s torso forward. The head and neck then move into a hyperflexed position (forward). The movement is beyond the normal range of motion and causes strains and sprains of the muscles and ligaments in the neck.
Symptoms of Whiplash
When whiplash first occurs, common symptoms may include:
- pain and stiffness in neck, shoulder, jaw, and back;
- pain and weakness in the arm;
- problems with vision; and/or
- ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
According to MedicineNet.com, whiplash may develop into a chronic issue called whiplash associated disorder, symptoms of which may include:
- anger management problems;
- drug use/dependency;
- post traumatic stress syndrome; and/or
Seeking Medical Care
If you’ve been in a car accident, seek medical care regardless of whether you feel injured. That’s because many injuries are not visible to the naked eye and do not manifest right away. Whiplash can be one of those injuries.
A doctor will take x-rays to determine the extent of the neck injury, as well as perform a physical exam. The doctor may perform an MRI as well. If the imaging tests look normal, but the patient still feels pain, the doctor might see the patient again to follow up.
Because of whiplash’s wide range of symptoms, treatments may vary depending on the severity of the condition and the types of symptoms that are present. Most doctors will educate the patient about the injury so he or she knows how to cope and heal.
Car crash victims should go immediately to see a doctor if they feel any numbness or tingling or if the pain extends to the shoulders or arms.
While wearing a collar to reduce the range of motion used to be the preferred method of treatment, many doctors now believe that maintaining a range of motion early helps the patient heal. Patients should discuss this with their doctor, though, so they do not overexert their neck.
Patients may require physical and occupational therapy to help them recover and return to work. Doctors may prescribe pain medication to ease the symptoms as the patient recovers. Physicians may recommend other treatments as well.
Get Legal Help from Chalik & Chalik
Whiplash is a real injury, but some people, including those working at insurance companies, accuse patients of faking this trauma. That’s because insurers don’t want to pay for all the damages the patient suffered from whiplash: medical bills, lost wages, possible inability to return to work, and more.
Call Chalik & Chalik at 855-529-0269 to set up a free consultation to review your case and eligibility to recover damages from an at-fault driver.