If you have ever been in a car accident, then you know that it’s true: car accidents often cause long-lasting issues. So many people are blissfully unaware of the pain, discomfort, and ongoing medical issues that can result from a motor vehicle collision.
When we talk about the “impact,” it’s not just about the moment of the accident. We also need to be aware of the ways that accidents affect people in the days, weeks, months, and even years after they occur.
One of the symptoms that people may face after a car accident is whiplash. If you are wondering whether or not the pain you are experiencing after an accident could be whiplash, this article is for you! Let’s explore what whiplash is, why it happens, and what kind of treatments are available.
What Is Whiplash?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” It is especially common from rear-end car accidents, but that’s certainly not the only situation that causes whiplash.
It can also be caused by sports accidents, physical abuse, and other traumas, including slip-and-fall scenarios.
The important thing to understand is that whiplash can occur any time a person’s neck is forced to extend backward and then forward in a rapid manner. When you are driving a car and someone rear-ends you, your neck is likely to be forcefully pushed forward and then back again by the physics of the collision.
How Common Is Whiplash?
Neck injuries are quite common. After all, rear-end accidents make up about 30% of all car accidents, and that is the most common cause of whiplash.
What Are The Symptoms Of Whiplash?
Whiplash can show up differently from person to person, but there are definitely some common experiences among whiplash sufferers.
Common symptoms include:
- Decreased range of motion in the head and neck
- Neck tightness and pain
- Pain when you move your head side-to-side or back-and-forth
- Stiffness and pain when trying to look over either or both shoulders
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Blurred vision
- Tenderness to the touch
- Pain in the shoulders, back, or arms
Not all headaches after a car accident are related to whiplash, but if you have a headache that begins at the base of your skull and radiates forward toward the forehead, then you may be dealing with whiplash-related head pain.
Do Whiplash Symptoms Start Immediately?
Whiplash symptoms don’t always start immediately, but there usually isn’t a long delay between the accident and the onset of symptoms. They often start showing up within 24 hours, and usually, they show up by a few days afterward at the latest.
With treatment, these symptoms usually subside after a few weeks. It is important, though, that you don’t ignore your symptoms. Ignoring the pain of whiplash means that you may prolong your suffering. The longer you wait to seek treatment or to address your symptoms at home, the longer you may end up dealing with post-accident pain and stiffness.
The experts over at Accident Treatment Centers provide useful guidance for how to treat whiplash. They recommend the following:
Go to the doctor. Your healthcare provider can determine the severity of your neck injury and prescribe the best treatment. A blog post like this may provide some general advice about what whiplash is, but only a doctor can provide medical advice. Your doctor can conduct physical and neurological exams, order x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs as needed.
Use ice. Keeping the muscles cool can promote faster healing and prevent swelling. It’s better to wait to apply heat until at least four days after the collision.
Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. This is another way to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Consider seeing a chiropractor. Some people like to work with a chiropractor to address aches and pains following an accident.
Visit a massage therapist. Massage can help a lot! It can help you relax and also help you get to a healthier emotional state following a traumatic experience like an accident. Massage also soothes soreness and reduces tension in your muscles. Be sure to tell your massage therapist if you are visiting after an accident so that they can choose the most appropriate technique and avoid further injuries.
Use a neck brace. The purpose of a neck brace is to immobilize the head and remove tension in the neck. By taking the pressure off your neck, your body can begin to heal. If your doctor recommends a neck brace, we highly recommend that you comply with those instructions.
What are your legal options if you are experiencing pain after a car accident?
If you have been injured in an accident and you are still in pain or dealing with medical treatments and bills, you have legal options.
Having an experienced legal team on your side will help you address the pain and suffering you have gone through because of your accident. At Crossen Law Firm, we do everything we can to protect your claim so that you receive fair compensation.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your case. We’re ready to help!