Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), more than 9 million passenger vehicles were involved in car accidents in the United States in 2013 alone.
Because car accidents happen so frequently, many people become desensitized to the devastating effects a motor vehicle collision can have on a car accident victim. Even a relatively common injury, such as whiplash, can prevent a person from working, stop them from enjoying life, and force them to live with ongoing, everyday pain.
What Is Whiplash? It’s No Joke.
Whiplash is often portrayed as a non-serious injury on television and in movies. It’s common to see a car accident victim on television wearing a white neck brace after a car accident. In sitcoms and legal dramas, these injury victims are often seen as exaggerators at best and fakers at worst. The implication is that whiplash is something of a joke.
If you have suffered a whiplash injury, you know that whiplash is far from humorous. In many cases, whiplash is a serious injury that results in long-term trauma, damage, and pain.
Whiplash occurs when the head is violently thrown backwards then forwards, jerking the neck and spine in a whip-like motion. This forces the muscles and ligaments in a person’s neck to exceed normal range of motion. Soft tissues can become strained, sprained, and torn.
Symptoms of Whiplash
No two accidents are exactly alike, and personal injuries affect each individual differently. For these reasons, whiplash symptoms vary from person to person.
Symptoms of whiplash can include:
- Headaches, migraines
- Blurred vision
- Throbbing pain at the base of the skull
- Stiffness in neck
Additionally, less common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Mood changes, irritability
- Long-term pain in the neck
In many cases, whiplash is a mild to moderate injury in terms of severity. In some cases, however, whiplash can be severe. If you have suffered a serious whiplash injury, your symptoms may include:
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or shoulders
- Severe neck pain
- Stiffness in neck that persists
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
- Weakness in one spot in an arm or leg
Any of the immediately preceding symptoms can be an indication of a serious health problem, so it is important to seek immediate medical help if you experience severe side effects associated with a whiplash injury. Although many people make a full recovery after a whiplash injury, others deal with chronic pain that lasts long after the date of the accident.
How Is Whiplash Treated?
Fortunately, many whiplash injuries can be treated with noninvasive, relatively straightforward methods. Doctors frequently treat whiplash with over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Your doctor may also prescribe a prescription painkiller to help you handle the pain as your whiplash injury heals.
Other treatments for whiplash include application of ice or heat. Your doctor may also ask you to wear a neck brace or cervical collar to keep your neck stable in the period immediately following your injury. Additionally, some injury victims report success with alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, and electronic nerve stimulation.
Get Help for Whiplash Injuries – Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered a whiplash injury, you may wonder whether you will ever feel well again. Depending on the nature of your case and the type of injuries you have suffered, you may be eligible for compensation to cover the cost of your injuries, as well as other damages, such as lost wages and property damage. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you explore your options.