Is Whiplash Serious?
The neck has some range of flexibility, but there are limits to how far forward and backward it can go. If the neck is stretched beyond its natural range of motion, it can sustain a whiplash injury. All the components of the neck, from the muscles to the nerves, tendons, and discs, can be affected. The question then becomes, is whiplash serious? According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, this is a question that depends on several factors.
How Is a Whiplash Injury Caused?
There are several ways that someone can suffer a whiplash injury, including car accidents, specifically rear-end crashes. In these situations, the force of impact comes from behind. Occupants in a car will be held back by seatbelts, leaving the initial force to thrust the head and neck forward only to quickly snap back again. This violent forward and backward motion can stretch and strain the neck far beyond its natural range of motion. When all of this happens, it is very likely that a car occupant can suffer a whiplash injury.
When a whiplash injury is the result of negligence, one of the major causes of car accidents, a personal injury attorney can provide information and resources regarding the injured party’s ability to file an injury claim for financial compensation. Other events can also cause whiplash injuries when the neck suffers a sudden jolt. Contact sports like football or ice hockey are some additional causes of whiplash injuries.
Top Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury
While it is always recommended that an injured party seek medical treatment after an accident for a diagnosis and treatment, an accident victim may wait and then start to experience symptoms later. If any symptoms arise, it is important to consult with a medical professional. Whiplash injuries are synonymous with the following symptoms:
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Noticeable neck pain and stiffness
- Pain in the lower back
- Headaches and dizziness
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in arms and hands
- Blurred vision
- Shoulder pain
- Problems with memory and recall
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Mood swings and irritability
- Difficulty sleeping
- Inability to concentrate
How Serious Can Whiplash Injuries Be?
Is whiplash serious? A medical professional will be able to evaluate a potential whiplash injury victim to determine the extent of the injury. Many factors can influence how serious a whiplash injury is, including the type of accident that caused the injury and the age and health of the victim. Diagnostic tests like MRIs, CT scans, and x-rays can help to pinpoint how badly the victim was injured.
While many whiplash injuries can resolve themselves in weeks to months with proper treatment, an untreated or undiagnosed injury may persist much longer. When a whiplash injury happens, the best way to reduce healing time and increase optimal recovery is to get medical treatment quickly. When an injury like whiplash goes undiagnosed and is not treated promptly, the victim may experience long-term effects. Some of these effects include:
- Permanent damage and impairment to the neck
- Postural defects
- Degenerative discs
- Constant ringing in the ears
- Poor vision
- Chronic pain
- Regular exhaustion and fatigue
- Temporal Mandibular Degeneration
- Recurrent headaches and intense migraines
- Bouts of confusion
Treatment Options for Whiplash
The sooner a whiplash injury is identified and treated, the better the outlook is for the victim. Treatment options may be one or a combination of any of the following:
- Cold compresses
- Neck collars
- Physical therapy
- Osteopathic manipulation
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines
- Muscle relaxants
- Massage and gentle movement
These treatments may help to ease a victim’s discomfort. However, when the symptoms of whiplash do not seem to be getting better, get worse, or last for over six months, then more intensive treatment options may be necessary to alleviate the problem.
What To Do After a Potential Whiplash Injury
When the neck and head are impacted by force, a whiplash injury may result. Sometimes, symptoms of whiplash are clear and show up quickly. Other times, symptoms are delayed. Seeking medical treatment early is the best way to improve a victim’s future health outcomes. Without treatment, a whiplash injury can develop into a more intensive problem with chronic pain and adverse health impairments.
A Personal Injury Lawyer May Be Able To Help
Is whiplash serious? The answer depends on how extensive the injury is and how long a victim waits to begin treatment. Medical treatment can be costly, and a victim may need to take time away from work for a portion of the recovery time. Whiplash may also make engaging in daily activities incredibly difficult. If a negligent party caused a whiplash injury, the victim may be eligible for financial compensation. A personal injury attorney can give more information and help determine if an injury claim is appropriate.
Chris has successfully represented numerous clients in catastrophic personal injury, employment law matters, class action, consumer protection, business tort, and legislative matters involving multi-million-dollar damages.