man with whiplash

What Is Whiplash?

Have you heard of whiplash? Many may have but are unfamiliar with what it is exactly. People usually know that it involves some kind of neck pain and that it is commonly associated with auto accidents. There is, however, much more to whiplash. Here, we go into further detail regarding the causes of whiplash, its symptoms, and your treatment options.

Understanding Whiplash

Whiplash is named as such because the injury occurs when the head moves suddenly backward and forward, essentially cracking it like a whip. Because whiplash is caused in this way, it may come as no surprise that it is commonly sustained in rear-end car collisions. It is also a common sports injury. When the head and neck are forced into such a rapid movement, the muscles and ligaments, which are soft tissues, in your neck are extended beyond what the usual range of motion is for them. The stretching and tearing of these soft tissues is what is at the heart of whiplash.

One of the dangerous things about whiplash is that the full symptoms of this injury may not present themselves until a few days after you are in an accident. This is why it can be so important for you to seek immediate medical attention after an accident even if you feel pretty normal right after. When you seek medical treatment right away and get the follow-up evaluations and care you need, it is more likely to have your whiplash injury, as well as other injuries, identified and the proper treatment plan prescribed which will help you have a faster more effective recovery time.

Common whiplash symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Less common symptoms of whiplash include things such as difficulty sleeping, irritability, and ringing in the ears. To have your whiplash injury properly diagnosed, you need to be in clear communication with your doctors about the symptoms you are experiencing. Because whiplash is a soft tissue injury, it can be difficult to diagnose. To properly diagnose whiplash, your doctor will rely heavily on your description of the symptoms you are experiencing. You describe your symptoms to your doctor, radiographic studies and other tests, such as x-rays, will be ordered to see if your symptoms may be due to some other type of injury. CT scans and MRIs will show if there is any damage or inflammation present in your soft tissues, spinal cord, or surrounding nerves.

For treatment options, there may be a range available to you. You may be prescribed pain medication for more serious cases or over-the-counter pain medication. Hot and cold therapy, as well as chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture, may also be effective in addressing your symptoms. Proper posture and stretching can also have a beneficial impact on the injury.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have sustained a whiplash injury in a car accident, it is crucial for you to get the medical care you need. This is not just because it can be essential to recovering from your injuries, but it can also help preserve the value of your personal injury claim. For more assistance in enforcing your right to receive full and fair compensation for your auto accident injuries, the dedicated personal injury team at Cooper Schall & Levy is here for you. Contact us today.