woman with whiplash injury

What Is Whiplash?

If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you may be injured and in pain. Neck injuries are particularly common for auto accident injury victims. In fact, you may have heard of whiplash injuries in the particular context of a car accident. Whiplash is a common injury to sustain in a motor vehicle crash. More particularly, those who have been rear-ended are extra susceptible to experiencing a whiplash injury. Here, we discuss what exactly whiplash is all about.

What is Whiplash?

While whiplash is commonly incurred in rear-end car accidents, it can also be the result of a sports incident or other type of trauma. You see, whiplash occurs when there is a forced, rapid back and forth motion of the neck. It is as if your neck has been cracked like a whip. Your head moved forward suddenly and then is jerked back. Whiplash falls into the category of neck sprain or strain, although a neck sprain or strain may be something besides whiplash.

Those involved in a motor vehicle accident should be aware that injury symptoms do not always present themselves right away. For instance, whiplash injuries can develop within days of being sustained. This is why it is important to seek out medical care after an accident even though you might not feel too hurt. Early medical intervention can help you heal from injuries you have sustained but might not yet be aware of.

Symptoms of whiplash to be aware of can include:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches
  • Discomfort in the shoulder, upper back, or arms areas

Additionally, whiplash victims may even experience fatigue and dizziness. Some people even experience blurred vision and ringing in the ears. There may be certain factors present that make it more likely for you to experience more severe symptoms of whiplash. This can be true for people of advanced years of age, those with existing neck and back problems, and those that sustained the whiplash injury in higher-speed crashes.

The difficulty with whiplash is that it will not appear on any radiographic studies. While your doctor may order an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI after an accident to check for other injuries, a whiplash injury will not appear in these imaging tests. The tests, however, may be useful in ruling out whether your neck pain may be caused by something other than whiplash.

Due to the fact that whiplash does not appear on imaging studies, it can be extra important for you to be clear with your doctor as to the symptoms you are experiencing. Discussing your specific symptoms can be invaluable in ensuring you are properly diagnosed and treated. Treatment for whiplash can include hot or cold therapy application to the neck at 15-minute intervals every few hours. It can also include:

  • Prescription and over the counter pain medication
  • Injections
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching and movement exercises.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been involved in an automobile accident, be sure to seek immediate medical attention. Untreated injuries can end up hurting you even more and may make it much more difficult for you to properly heal. As you focus on regaining your optimal health, let SoCal Injury Lawyers lighten your burden by taking on the legal aspects involved in an accident injury situation. We remain dedicated to fighting for our clients’ rights to be fully and fairly compensated for their losses. Contact us today.