What is whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when the neck is forcibly and violently bent backward and then forward (or vice versa). This causes injury to the soft tissues of the neck. These are the joints and ligaments that join your vertebrae together and allow you to flex you neck in a wide range of directions. Whiplash most commonly occurs when there is a very sudden acceleration or deceleration, such as in a car accident. Although, it is important to note that some degree of whiplash always occurs with head injuries.
Whiplash can encompass a wide array of specific neck injuries. Usually there is a minor sprain to ligaments of the neck. Sometimes there is also a partial dislocation of a joint. More seriously, a vertebrae of the neck could be fractured or a ligament may rupture. The classic symptom of whiplash is that the stiffness and pain in the neck are much more noticeable 24 hours after the injury has occurred, and may continue to worsen over a period of several days.
Other symptoms that can occur with whiplash injuries are as follows:
- stiffness of the neck
- difficultly moving the head
- pain in arms or shoulders
- muscle spasms
- memory loss
- a pins and needles feeling
- poor concentration
What causes whiplash?
Whiplash is commonly associated with car accidents, particularly those where a car is rear-ended by another vehicle. As previously mentioned, all head injuries involve a degree of whiplash. Additionally, whiplash is common in the following types of accidents:
- motor vehicle accidents of any kind
- falls and slips
- head trauma from a physical assault
- sports such as football, boxing, or martial arts
- being stuck on the head by a heavy object while at work
- boating accidents
- outdoor activities like biking or ATVs
As you can tell, whiplash doesn’t only occur in high speed car accidents. The problem is that even though you may have all the proper restraints and precautions while driving or partaking in other activities, there is not a way to keep the neck from flexing with the force of impact. Additional factors such as the position you were in at the time of the accident, height, safety measures, and the scale of the forces involved in the accident will all influence the severity of your injuries.
When should I seek medical attention?
Any head injury should be checked by a medical professional. Whiplash should be accessed for its severity and the possibility of long term damage since symptoms take hours to weeks to fully develop. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re fine after a head or neck injury just because you don’t feel bad in the immediate aftermath!
Most cases of whiplash are minor soft tissue damage and will get better on its own after several weeks. More severe cases can result in long-term pain and physically impairment. These may require physical therapy, pain management, or medical specialists to treat long-lasting symptoms.
If you have medical bills or missed work from whiplash, you may be able to get legal compensation from person who cause your accident. Call the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess at Lake Charles today for a free consultation.