What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash Following a Car Accident?

A Brief Overview of Dog Bite Accidents
A Brief Overview of Dog Bite Accidents
July 5, 2019
Preparing for Winter Driving
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Skiing Accident
July 6, 2019

No matter how big or small, every car accident is at least a little stressful to go through. Not only do you have to deal with property damage, but you often also have to deal with the physical and emotional effects it leaves behind. This may be true no matter how minor the accident may have seemed.

If you have been in an auto accident before, you probably already know that the slightest possible accident can still lead to whiplash. It is likely the most common result of an automobile accident for that very reason.

Whiplash may not seem very significant, but it can still have lasting effects. Because it is not an official medical term, it may be used to refer to any sudden jerking motion of the head. Whiplash may occur in any context where the head and neck are subjected to sudden, violent motions.

Many times, whiplash makes itself known immediately. Other times, however, it takes a while for its effects to really be made known. In this blog post, we will go over some of the most common symptoms of whiplash following a car accident. Read on to find out more.

Symptoms May Be Delayed for 24 Hours or More

When you are involved in a car accident, your body goes into shock and produces endorphins to make up for the altercation. This is partially why symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or even longer after you suffer your initial trauma. According to WebMD, whiplash will usually make itself obvious within the first few days following the injury. Some of the most common symptoms are as follows:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, and/or fatigue
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
  • Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
  • Ringing ears

Whiplash can exist on a spectrum of severity. If you have survived a more severe car accident, the whipping motion alone may lead to mild or severe brain injury. Car accident-related whiplash injuries are known officially as cervical acceleration-deceleration injuries. Studies have shown that the whole cervical spine can become hyperextended as a result of cervical acceleration-deceleration injuries.

Because symptoms can take a while to make themselves known and because whiplash can be indicative of a serious injury, it is vitally important for you to seek out medical attention immediately after an automobile accident. Since soft tissue injuries (e.g. those related to the discs, muscles, and/or ligaments) cannot be seen on standard X-rays, you may need to undergo specialized imagining tests (e.g. CT scans or MRI scans) in order to diagnose any specific whiplash-related damages.

However, X-rays may still be able to identify fractures, dislocations, or arthritis of the neck. Computerized tomography (CT) scans are a special type of X-ray that can show possible bone damage by producing cross-sectional images of bone. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests produce detailed 3D images by using radio waves and a magnetic field. They can detect bone injuries along with some soft tissue injuries.

How to Treat Whiplash Symptoms

Unfortunately, there is no single scientifically proven treatment for whiplash. However, you may be able to find some respite in over-the-counter painkillers (e.g. ibuprofen and naproxen, or their more popular brand name counterparts Aleve and Naprosyn). It is also possible that you will benefit from gentle exercise, heat, ice, injections, massage, physical therapy, traction, and ultrasound.

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash Following a Car Accident?

In the past, doctors recommended immobilization for whiplash injuries. However, nowadays, doctors tend to encourage early movement instead. Start with icing the injured area for the first 24 hours following the accident before moving onto gentle, active movement.

It is important for you to be vigilant and active in your recovery, as whiplash injuries may easily lead to long-term complications. When treating whiplash, your main goals will be to control your pain, restore the normal range of motion in your neck, and return to your normal activities.

Prepare for your doctor’s appointment by considering these questions before you go:

  • Does your pain get worse with movement?
  • Have you experienced any neck pain before your accident?
  • How long did it take for your symptoms to appear?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your neck pain?
  • What medications or treatments have you tried or are currently trying?
  • Are you experiencing any other symptoms?

Just as everyone’s whiplash injury is different, everyone’s whiplash treatment plan will also vary case by case. Those who have suffered more minor injuries may find that relying on over-the-counter painkillers will suffice, while those who have suffered more severe injuries may require specialized pain treatment or prescription medication.

It is also important to remember that there is such a thing as too much rest when it comes to whiplash recovery. Keep in mind that you want to keep your muscles working in order to prevent your symptoms from getting worse. For immediate pain relief, you may also find that applying either heat or cold can help.

Your doctor may prescribe you muscle relaxants in order to loosen your muscles and soothe pain. They may also help you if your pain has disrupted your sleep schedule. In addition, more severely injured patients may receive an injection of numbing medicine lidocaine. You may also want to seek out alternative methods of care, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or massage.

Seeking Legal Help

Car accidents are always an incredibly distressing process to go through. They are even more troubling if you have suffered personal injury as a result. Fortunately, you do not have to go through it alone. If you have recently been involved in an automobile accident, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist victims all across the United States. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide auto accident attorneys. We are dedicated to fighting for you and your rights.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *