If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, one of the injuries you might be most worried about is whiplash. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries experienced after being involved in a car accident and is caused by the force of your vehicle suddenly stopping/crashing as the accident occurs. The sudden force causes your head and neck to jerk backwards/forwards in the direction of the vehicle’s momentum. These sudden jerks can cause a surprising amount of damage to the neck, back, and spine.
Whiplash is a complex injury to treat because it may appear in a somewhat delayed manner. After being in a wreck, you may feel fine initially, but as the muscles, tendons, nerves, and fragile discs in your neck begin to settle, you may find that whiplash symptoms become more severe. Whiplash can begin to show symptoms immediately after an accident or hours or even days after the event.
How Do Whiplash Symptoms Being to Show?
Whiplash usually begins with the following symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and some may not be noticeable at all depending on the force of the accident and of the individual’s head position at the time of the crash impact:
- Neck pain and sudden stiffness
- Headaches that begin without warning
- Pain between the shoulder blades
- Pain or numbness in arms/hands
- Lower back pain
- Trouble focusing, concentrating, or sleeping
Whiplash occurs when the fragile muscles, nerves, and tissues around the neck become damaged due to the extreme changes in motion. These injuries are complicated to diagnose and treat since whiplash tends to affect every patient differently. Some whiplash victims may experience only one symptom as listed above while others may experience every symptom. There is also no easy way to diagnose whiplash since scar tissue may not show up in medical imaging.
Research has shown that after neck trauma like that experienced during a car accident, the tissues around the neck can heal very slowly. For most patients, this healing process takes 6 to 8 weeks. For others, it may longer.
Does Whiplash Always Require Medical Attention?
Whiplash treatment will vary considerably depending on how severe a victim’s symptoms are and how severe the car accident was. For patients with mild whiplash, they may be able to treat the symptoms on their own with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. In more serious cases, you may need to see a doctor to receive prescription painkillers and muscle relaxers. Physical therapy is also required in many instances.
For those with minor symptoms, the symptoms of whiplash may go away on their own and diminish within days or weeks. For those with more severe symptoms, you may find that going to the doctor is necessary, especially for pain relief.
It’s important to always see a doctor immediately following any type of car accident to rule out any serious injuries that may be going on. While whiplash itself may not be extremely severe, it may accompany other more serious neck and back injuries. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether any symptoms you’re experiencing are related to whiplash or if there is perhaps something else going on.
If you’ve been injured in a serious car accident in Atlanta, Georgia and are questioning your legal options, don’t hesitate to reach out to Bey & Associates, LLC today.