Whiplash: Why Many are Going Untreated and Sustain Lasting Painful Injuries

Whiplash Treatment

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 7, 2022

WHAT EXACTLY IS WHIPLASH?

Whiplash, also known as moderate impact soft tissue injury, is most typically connected with rear- end car accidents. Damage to the cervical spine (upper neck) is often produced when a person’s head stretches forward and backward in a snapping action. Injuries may be immediately obvious to the wounded individual or may develop over time.

Neck pain, headaches, stiffness, shoulder and back pain, disorientation, exhaustion, jaw discomfort, arm pain, weakness, and nausea are all symptoms of whiplash. Injuries may vary from modest neck and back discomfort that lasts a few weeks or months to more significant issues like a herniated disc or muscular dysfunction that can last months or even years. Unfortunately, due to the little damage to their car, some people fail to notice the severity of their injuries and explain their suffering to post-accident stiffness that will ultimately go away.

WHAT EXACTLY IS WHIPLASH?

Whiplash is caused by a person’s head quickly moving backward and then forward with considerable force. A rear-end automobile accident is the most typical cause of this injury. Physical abuse, sports injuries, or amusement park rides may all cause it.

Whiplash occurs when your neck’s soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) are stretched beyond their normal range of motion. Because your symptoms may not present for a few days after an accident, it’s important to pay attention to any physical changes.

Whiplash is a relatively minor injury, yet it may result in long-term pain and suffering.

WHAT CAUSES WHIPLASH INJURIES?

Whiplash happens when the muscles in your neck are strained due to a quick backward and forward movement. Whiplash occurs when the tendons and ligaments in your neck strain and tear due to rapid motion.

Whiplash may be caused by a variety of factors, including:

vehicle accidents

physical abuse, such as being slapped or shook

contact sports, such as football, boxing, and karate

horseback riding

bicycle accidents

falls in which the head abruptly swings backward

What is the sensation of whiplash?

Symptoms generally occur within 24 hours after the whiplash-causing episode. Symptoms may appear after a few days in certain cases. They have the potential to linger for many weeks.

neck pain and stiffness

headaches, especially at the base of the skull

dizziness

impaired vision

persistent tiredness are all common symptoms.

difficulties with attention and memory are some of the less prevalent symptoms connected with chronic whiplash.

ringing in the ears

difficulty sleeping

irritability

persistent neck, shoulder, or head pain

If your symptoms have moved to your shoulders or arms, moving your head is difficult, or you have numbness or paralysis in your arms, you should see your doctor very once.

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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF WHIPLASH, AND HOW CAN YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE IT?

Most instances of mild to severe whiplash may be treated at home using over-the-counter (OTC) medications, ice, and other therapies. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:

neck discomfort or stiffness that goes gone and then reappears

neck ache that is severe

any problems with your bladder or intestines

any pain, numbness, or tingling in your shoulders, arms, or legs

a numbness or tingling in one arm or leg

Your doctor will likely ask you questions about your injury, such as how it happened, where you’re experiencing pain, and if it’s dull, shooting, or acute. They may also do a physical examination to assess your range of motion and search for sore spots.

An X-ray may be ordered by your doctor to make sure your discomfort isn’t caused by another injury or degenerative illness like arthritis.

Other tests, including CT scans and MRIs, will enable your doctor to examine any soft tissue, spinal cord, or nerve damage. Certain imaging tests, such as diffuse tensor imaging (DTI) or positron

emission tomography (PET scan), may be beneficial, particularly if a brain injury is suspected. These tests will aid in locating and measuring the amount of a brain or other region lesion.

WHIPLASH REHABILITATION

Whiplash is a very straightforward condition to cure. Doctors often prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or aspirin. Prescription medicines and muscle relaxants may be required for more serious injuries to alleviating muscular spasms.

Physical therapy, in addition to medicine, is critical to healing. You should administer ice or heat to the damaged region and do basic neck exercises to improve strength and flexibility. To protect your neck muscles from straining and to aid recuperation, practice excellent posture and master relaxation methods.

To keep your neck stable, you may be given a foam collar. Collars should be worn for a maximum of three hours at a time. They should also only be used for the first few days following your accident.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS

You may also want to look into other pain-relieving options. Some of them include:

chiropractic care

massage, which may help reduce neck muscular stress.

electrical nerve stimulation, which uses a low-voltage electric current to relieve neck discomfort.

Acupuncture, while no research has shown that it can help with neck discomfort.

Whiplash is related to a number of complications.

Whiplash may leave some individuals with persistent pain or headaches for years after an injury. Damaged neck joints, discs, and ligaments may be the source of this discomfort, according to doctors. Chronic pain after a whiplash injury, on the other hand, is often undiagnosed.

Whiplash, on the other hand, causes extremely few long-term consequences. The recovery period ranges from a few days to several weeks in most cases. Most patients recover completely within three months, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeTrusted Source.

IS THIS ANYTHING TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT?

Cervicalgia is another name for neck discomfort. It’s a typical occurrence that normally doesn’t cause concern. Neck discomfort may occur for a variety of causes and is generally treated with simple lifestyle modifications.

For example, your muscles may be stiff as a result of sitting with bad posture for long periods of time at work. Neck discomfort may also be caused by a vehicle accident or muscular tension caused by overextending oneself during exercising.

Other signs and symptoms include:

neck ache that becomes worse if you keep your head in one position for long periods of time

neck muscular tension or spasms

difficulties moving your head

headaches

Although this illness may be a real pain in the neck, there are a number of things you can do to cure it at home. In fact, many persons with neck discomfort may show significant benefits after only two to three weeks of at-home treatment.

RELAX AND UNWIND.

Did you realize your head weighs around 12 pounds? That’s a lot for your muscles and ligaments to sustain throughout the day as you engage in your various activities. Doing too much might be the cause of your neck ache.

Relaxation is one approach to alleviate discomfort. Take one to three days off from any heavy activity. Heavy lifting and weight-bearing activities, such as jogging, hiking, or tennis, should be avoided.

APPLY A COLD COMPRESS TO THE AFFECTED AREA.

Apply a cold ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel to your neck to reduce discomfort and inflammation. Apply cold treatment to the affected region for up to 20 minutes many times a day. If you have diabetes or cardiovascular problems, use ice for no more than 10 minutes at a time.

APPLY A WARM COMPRESS THEREAFTER.

You may also alternate cold and heat treatment. You’re using heat to relieve muscular tension and discomfort. Take a warm shower or place a heating pad on your neck if you’re having trouble sleeping. Apply this treatment for up to 20 minutes, but just for 10 minutes if you have circulation issues.

TAKE OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN MEDICINES

At your local pharmacy shop, you’ll discover a wide range of over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a widely used remedy. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) is a pain reliever that also has anti-inflammatory properties. Another alternative is to take naproxen sodium (Aleve).

Your neck discomfort may linger for a long period, regardless of the pain medication you use.

Make it as long as possible

Taking time each day to extend your neck may also assist. You should hold off on doing any workouts until the worst of your discomfort has passed.

Warm up the region with a heating pad before making any of these motions, or execute them after a warm shower or bath.

STRETCHING THE NECK

Take a step forward. Simply lower your chin to your chest gently. For 5 to 10 seconds, stay in this posture. Return to your original starting position.

Lean back in your chair and stare up at the ceiling. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Get back to where you started.

Gently raise your left ear near your left shoulder without making physical contact. Tilt your head just till your neck stretches a bit. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Get back to where you started.

Do the same thing on your right side.

Complete the procedure three to five times more. Turning the head

You may work on rotating your neck once you’ve stretched your neck to its basic range of motion.

Take a step forward.

Look to one side as though you’re gazing over your shoulder. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds.

Slowly turn 180 degrees in the other direction. Hold the position for another 5 to 10 seconds.

Repeat steps 3–5 three to five times more.

After you’ve warmed up, use what’s known as overpressure to lengthen the stretches you just did.

Place your right hand beneath your right leg while seated. Your right shoulder will stay down as a result of this.

Cross your left arm over your head so that your left hand may cover your right ear.

Using your left hand, gently pull your left ear closer (but not touching) your left shoulder, as you did with the rotations, to create more flexibility.

Stay in this posture for at least 30 seconds.

Do the same thing on the opposite side.

Work your way up to three repetitions of this stretch on each side. Getting Money Back from Insurance Companies

The lack of insurance companies to identify the real severity of the injury is a typical problem related to vehicle accidents and claims when the Plaintiff suffers from moderate impact soft tissue injuries. Why? These injuries are often ignored because they are almost impossible to detect with a scan or x- ray.

Insurance firms take advantage of the lack of detection to either entirely reject the claim or make a recovery so onerous that it is not worth the effort. These massive, profit-driven businesses point to the absence of damage to the automobiles in question and refuse to consider the insured’s claims. They don’t realize (or don’t care) that the shock that the vehicle didn’t take was most likely absorbed by the people within the vehicle.

IS IT NECESSARY TO ENGAGE AN ATTORNEY?

So you’ve been rear-ended and aren’t sure whether you should employ an attorney. The insurance companies tell you that your injuries are minor, yet you’re having trouble recuperating for the reasons outlined above. Furthermore, you are not consulting a physician to the level that you should, and the pain is not lessening as a result. If any of this sounds similar, you should consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer.

I would warn you to be wary of certain injury lawyers because, like insurance companies, they may not take your case seriously and put it on hold. I wouldn’t say that a modest impact claim would result in a million-dollar settlement, but the value of your case should have no effect on how much attention your attorney or the insurance company handling your claim gives it. Don’t fall prey to the insurance industry’s bullies or these run-of-the-mill legal companies. Engage the services of a dependable attorney.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD I TAKE TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY?

First and foremost, see if you can speak with an attorney rather than just a case manager or investigator. If a legal company does not seem to have adequate time for your case, it is likely that they do not.

Some lawyers may simply delegate a little impact, minimal tissue injury case to a paralegal to handle from start to finish. All of our clients are treated similarly at Warrior Car Accident Lawyers.

You will be given each attorney’s mobile phone number, which you may use to contact us about  your case at any time. Please contact us at 719-300-1100 if you want to hire a caring Colorado Springs auto accident attorney or if you want more information on instances involving low-impact soft tissue injury.

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