Whiplash, also called a neck strain or sprain, is a neck injury that does not involve broken bones. You might also have some fractures, but whiplash is a soft-tissue injury. The name “whiplash” comes from how the damage happens. Imagine how a whip snaps back with a quick motion. That back-and-forth is the same motion that your neck makes when you get whiplash.
According to the Mayo Clinic, rear-end car accidents are a common cause of whiplash injuries. Other causes can include other kinds of traumas, like physical abuse, sports accidents, and falls.
Three Things To Do After A Whiplash Injury
If you experience symptoms of a neck sprain after a Fort Lauderdale car accident or some other kind of trauma, you might want to consider taking certain actions to protect your health and your legal rights. For example,
- Call the police to come to the scene if the injury happened in a car accident. The police crash report will help to establish fault and liability.
- Get medical attention right away. You will need a physical examination to make sure you receive treatment for any visible or invisible injuries. Without immediate medical intervention, injuries could worsen. Without documentation linking your injury to the accident, you may have difficulty receiving compensation for your medical expenses.
- Talk to a neck injury lawyer as soon as possible. Evidence can disappear within days. When you have an attorney working on your injury claim, all you have to worry about is getting better.
Your attorneys can advise you on additional steps that will protect your health and keep your case on track. They can assist you at the accident scene if you need guidance.
Symptoms Of Whiplash
The Cleveland Clinic describes the symptoms of whiplash with these indicators:
- Some of the early indications of whiplash can be stiffness when moving and the neck, upper back, or shoulders being tender to the touch.
- In grade 2, a person could feel muscle spasms that make moving or turning the head or neck a challenge. Also, the injured person could develop pain that radiates to surrounding areas, for example, in the back, shoulder, head, and face. At this stage, bruising, swelling, and other physical symptoms of injury could develop.
- Grade 3 of whiplash is when neurological symptoms develop. The injured person could develop headaches, dizziness, vertigo, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, and a hoarse or lost voice. Also, muscles can become weak and numbness, burning, or a sensation of “pins and needles” can develop in the neck, shoulders, upper arms, or upper back.
- In grade 4 of whiplash symptoms, the indications from the previous stages can still be present, but, depending on the severity of the whiplash injury, these symptoms can be more severe. The patient should be evaluated for a fractured or misaligned vertebra.
The Cleveland Clinic warns that, although some symptoms can appear immediately, others might take anywhere from 12 hours to several days to manifest.
Complications Of Whiplash
Whiplash can damage muscles, nerves, and ligaments in the neck, head, and upper back. It is possible to recuperate from a minor whiplash injury within weeks or months, but some people develop chronic impairments that can go on for months or years.
Chronic pain and recurrent, excruciating headaches are two of the most common lingering problems after a whiplash injury. Some people have a decreased range of motion and pain that is severe enough to limit their activities and their quality of life.
Treatments For A Whiplash Injury
Your doctor might order imaging tests like x-rays, computerized tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rule out things like fractures, damage to the spinal cord, injuries to the disks or ligaments, and dislocations.
If the diagnostic procedures indicate that the patient does not have another diagnosis that might be the cause of the symptoms, the Mayo Clinic says that the physician will likely prescribe treatments like these:
- A day or two of bed rest.
- Application of heat or cold to the injured area of the neck.
- Over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol or Motrin.
- Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants.
- Injections of local pain medicine to give temporary relief from discomfort.
- Stretching and movement exercises that you can do at home.
- Physical therapy to help restore your range of motion and relieve your pain.
- Temporary, limited use of a foam neck collar.
The combination of treatments your doctor orders will depend on your unique situation, like the severity of your wounds and your underlying health conditions. Whatever your doctor prescribes, it’s important to follow their treatment suggestions as closely as possible. This is to the benefit of your health and your car accident case.
Call Our Office for Your Free Consultation!
You can reach out to the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a free initial consultation about your personal injury case, including a possible whiplash injury. We can even help schedule your appointments.
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