Most people are familiar with whiplash as a common type of car accident injury, but many do not have a good understanding of what it can involve. Whiplash can often result in much more than a simple sore neck. The injury, although not externally visible, can cause damage to muscles, surrounding tissues and even vertebrae in the injured location.
Whiplash can result due to a violent jerking back and forth of the neck and head. As such, these injuries are quite common in rear-end collision accidents. The jerking motion can cause the head and neck to extend too far backward, resulting in the tears and damage common to whiplash. Many people do not experience symptoms for several hours or even days after the accident.
Treatment can involve range of motion exercises, physical therapy and medication management. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, including such things as a loss of the ability to turn the head and neck, chronic headaches, muscle soreness and stiffness, pain radiating down into the arms, shoulders and torso and fatigue. In mild cases, people may recover fairly quickly. In severe ones, symptoms may continue for months or even years, significantly impacting the victim’s quality of life and ability to function.
It is important for people who have been involved in a car crash to see their doctors as soon as possible, even if they initially do not believe they received any injuries. Whiplash can be debilitating, and receiving early treatment can help aid the victim’s recovery. One who has received a serious whiplash injury in an accident caused by a negligent motorist may want to consult with an attorney who has experience in personal injury matters. If the accident is deemed to be the fault of another, recoverable damages could include the cost of medical treatment and other compensation.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, “Whiplash”, accessed on Jan. 26, 2015