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What is whiplash and how is it treated?

There are many injuries that can come from a motor vehicle crash. While some, such as brain or spinal cord injuries, are catastrophic, others like whiplash will likely heal. Anyone who is in a crash, especially a rear-end wreck, should pay close attention for signs that they are suffering from this condition.

Whiplash is an injury that can take time to appear. You might not notice anything wrong with your neck at the scene of the crash. Over the next few days, you may realize that your neck has become stiff and sore. You should contact your doctor for an evaluation if you notice any potential issues with your neck.

What symptoms occur with whiplash?

Besides neck pain, a person with whiplash might also experience a limited range of motion, muscle soreness in the shoulders, tingling in the arms and tenderness in the upper arms. Some individuals experience dizziness, fatigue and headaches.

In less common cases, a person with this condition may experience trouble concentrating, ringing in the ears, changes in sleep patterns and irritability. Memory issues, blurry vision and depression can also occur.

How is whiplash treated?

In the past, immobilization was the primary treatment for whiplash. Now, it’s known that prolonged time in a cervical collar can make the injury worse because the immobilization can lead to atrophy, so doctors only use these very sparingly. Often, other treatments, including physical therapy, medications and thermal options are used to help control the symptoms to provide relief.

The length of time you have to go through treatment depends on the extent of your injuries. It’s possible that you’ll have to miss some work while you heal. Your doctor might prescribe things like stretching exercises and periodic rest for the neck. It’s imperative that you follow those directions since they can improve the outcome of your case.

As a general guide, doctors will evaluate more aggressive, and sometimes invasive, treatments if you haven’t recovered from whiplash within three months of the accident. In rare cases, patients may have long-term stiffness and similar symptoms.

While many people will assume that whiplash is a minor injury, it can have great impacts on the person who’s suffering from it. These can lead to financial damages, which may result in the victim launching a claim for compensation. Working with someone who’s familiar with these cases can help you to understand what options you have and what might occur.