Whiplash is one of the most common soft tissue injuries, often occurring in low-speed rear-impact collisions that cause inflammation and damage to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Those who suffer from this injury might not immediately notice any symptoms in the aftermath of an accident and, in fact, it is not uncommon for any ill effects to arise until after a few days. Although many regard this injury as minor, it is possible for severe cases of whiplash to last for a long period of time and requires more extensive treatment.
How Whiplash Occurs
When the head of a motor vehicle occupant jolts forward, or sideways, and snaps back in a sudden movement, a whiplash injury is likely to occur. This violent movement damages the delicate tendons and ligaments in the neck, causing the individual severe pain and a sore neck. Other symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck stiffness
- Pain associated with neck movement
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches that tend to start at the base of the skull
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
Other, less common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in ears
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Memory issues
- Inability to concentrate
Although motor vehicle accidents are the primary cause of whiplash, it is not the only one. Any type of accident that causes this sudden movement in the neck can result in whiplash.
The Effects of Whiplash
The length of time it takes for one to recover from whiplash depends not only on the individual, but on the details of the accident itself, such as the speed at which the vehicles were traveling. Most whiplash injuries are able to fully heal within about six months. However, about a third of people who suffered this injury reported neck pain ten years after the accident and some continued to experience symptoms for the rest of their lives.
Generally, the pain one feels during the first few weeks after sustaining the whiplash injury is indicative of whether or not he or she might be able to achieve a full recovery. Those who reported severe pain tend to have a decreased chance of recovering fully. In cases where whiplash injury victims have preexisting conditions, such as neck pain, arthritis in the neck, or chronic headaches, the recovery period will be longer and there is a greater likelihood of long-term effects.
If whiplash lasts longer than six months, it is typically referred to as chronic whiplash and requires treatment with prescribed painkillers and physiotherapy. Less severe cases of whiplash are treated with paracetamol or basic anti-inflammatory pills like ibuprofen. Regardless if your injury is severe or mild, it is advisable to keep your head and neck mobile rather than putting it in a brace since this can help facilitate a speedier healing process.
If you believe you suffered a whiplash injury, it is crucial that you schedule a visit with your physician. There is no effective way to confirm whiplash symptoms, but with scans or x-rays, your doctor can begin making a medical record of your symptoms and treatment, which is essential if you decide to file a personal injury claim for your whiplash injury.
Experienced Morristown Personal Injury Attorneys
Being involved in an accident is often an overwhelming and traumatic experience that leaves survivors feeling shaken, confused, and in pain. Even in cases where injuries appear to be minor, the effects can be long-lasting, causing a great amount of discomfort that necessitates costly treatments. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by the negligent or careless actions of another, you have a right to pursue compensation, regardless of the extent or type of injury you sustained.
At The Terry Law Firm, we are proud to provide clients with excellent legal services. It is what continues to set us apart from other firms, allowing us to establish trusting relationships with our clients. You can trust our legal team to provide personalized service, tailored solutions that meet your needs, and quick responses to all of your questions and concerns.
Contact our office today at (423) 536-6220 to schedule a free consultation.