A car accident can cause many different types of injuries. One of the most common is whiplash. Usually, cases of whiplash are treatable and do not cause long-term issues – unfortunately, this is not always the case.
For example, if it does not appear immediately after an accident or if treatment is not sought quickly, it can cause serious issues. In fact, there are several whiplash-related dangers that many people are unaware of.
Whiplash is a tear or strain in the soft tissues around the shoulders and neck. It is caused by a sudden jerking motion of the head during a collision.
This is a simplistic definition, and those working in the medical field understand that these injuries are much more complicated. The damage to the soft tissue in the affected area can occur even at extremely low speeds. It can also be serious enough that it causes long-term issues.
When you consider how the injury occurs, it is clear that whiplash can be extremely traumatic to your body. It is most commonly seen in rear-end collisions. When you suffer a whiplash injury in a car accident, it means you were either stopped or going at a steady rate of speed before being struck from behind.
At the time of the collision, your body continues to move forward with the vehicle while your head remains in place for a second. Muscles, tissues, and ligaments are often stretched and torn as the head jerks to catch up to the rest of you.
The Short-Term Impact of a Whiplash Injury
Many people who experience a whiplash injury may experience symptoms immediately. However, many people go several hours or days before noticing symptoms of this injury.
The shock and adrenaline after a car accident can result in delayed or hidden symptoms.
Some common symptoms you will notice will a whiplash injury include the following:
- Migraines or headaches
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Lower back or mid back pain
- Stiffness in the shoulders and neck
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
Usually, these symptoms will disappear with proper treatment. However, the symptoms will worsen or recur if the injury is not treated.
Waiting to have a whiplash injury treated makes it more challenging to keep the symptoms or issues from worsening. After an accident, you may not have any aches or pains; however, you should still be checked out by a doctor. Treatment can be administered even if you feel fine if signs of the injury are detected.
The Long-Term Impact of a Whiplash Injury
When whiplash injuries are not treated, the results can cause long-term pain and discomfort. In some situations, the aftermath of an untreated whiplash injury can last for the remainder of the person’s life.
Some of the potential long-term issues related to whiplash injuries include the following:
- Ligament injuries
- Permanent neck impairments
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of a range of motion in the neck
- Degenerative joint or disc disease
- Permanent postural impairments
- Diminished eyesight
- Temporal mandibular degeneration
- Chronic pain in the shoulders, back, and neck
- Recurring migraines and headaches
You must understand that a single mild symptom can cause others. For example, if you have a headache that is never treated, it can lead to other problems like ongoing migraines. These may impact your ability to live a normal life and participate in activities you enjoy. If you do not seek treatment, it may result in permanent ringing in the ears or ongoing TMJ problems.
If you have symptoms that last for more than six months, the condition is called “chronic whiplash.” You will likely need more intensive treatment to overcome the injuries in these situations.
Whiplash Treatment Options
After an accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment. Even if you feel fine, you should not put this off. As mentioned above, symptoms of whiplash and other injuries can take time to develop. Also, by seeking immediate treatment, you connect your injuries to the accident, which is beneficial if you plan to file an injury claim in the future.
Once your doctor diagnoses whiplash, mild cases can be healed at home. Gentle exercise, hot and cold therapy, and rest are usually enough. However, for more serious injuries, physical therapy may be needed.
While you may have heard otherwise, stabilizing mechanisms and braces are not viable options for treating whiplash. While this is true, strenuous or sudden movements can be detrimental to recovery. The goal is to maintain gentle movements, which can help rebuild strength and prevent the need for a neck brace.
Contact The Burkett Law Firm for Help with Your Injury Claim
You have rights if you are involved in an accident because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. At The Burkett Law Firm, we can review the facts of your case and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
We understand that whiplash injuries – even minor ones – can impact your quality of life and result in significant medical costs. We can help you recover your losses in a compensation claim. Call our office today to schedule a free initial legal consultation.