Whiplash can refer to any of a range of injuries to your neck caused by sharp, sudden motion. It most often occurs as the result of a car accident, when the impact of the collision can jerk your head forward and back quickly.
Fast, abrupt motion can twist the muscles and other soft tissue in your neck beyond their normal movement range, usually resulting in some kind of strain. Whiplash after a car accident is a common injury, but it can still be serious and debilitating if left untreated.
How Do I Know If I Have Whiplash?
People suffering from whiplash frequently won’t notice any pain or discomfort until hours or even a few days after the accident itself. The adrenaline your body releases during the shock of the accident will keep you from noticing the smaller aches and pains you’ll notice later. That’s why getting treatment after an accident is always important, no matter how you feel.
Symptoms of whiplash in the days following the trauma of the accident can include pain and stiffness in your neck, but also throughout your head, shoulders, and back. All of those muscles are connected and so whiplash can have extensive effects.
Pain from your whiplash injury may start as small, dull aches, but can gradually increase and become very intrusive if you ignore the symptoms and continue your normal schedule. Numbness in your arms and dizziness can also be signs that you’re suffering from whiplash.
How Is It Treated?
Speak to a doctor about the accident and all of your symptoms in order to get a diagnosis and begin treatment. The doctor will ask questions and possibly run some tests as well to rule out other injuries that require more intense treatment.
A treatment plan for whiplash will include tools for pain management and instructions for helping your neck to heal quickly and effectively. Pain medications and possibly a collar to stabilize your neck can help with comfort, and doctors will often give you simple exercises to do to gently stretch your neck muscles and aid with healing.
The important thing is to avoid unusual or heavy strain on your neck and to slowly work your way back up to your normal routine. Ice or heating pads can help with pain and relaxing the muscles, and you might also consider asking your doctor about massage therapy or chiropractic care if you are struggling.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
If your whiplash was caused by a car accident, there may be a way for you to be compensated for your medical expenses. Once you have the bills showing how much your ongoing treatment is costing you, you can report to that your own insurance and to that of the other driver if they were at fault. Their liability coverage or your own personal injury coverage may help you cover anything you had to pay on your own.
If your medical bills are stacking up and you are unsuccessful in getting insurance to cover injuries you were not at fault for, you should find a lawyer you trust to examine your case and help you consider your options.