Whiplash Injuries: Common Bothersome Signs and Symptoms
When you’re involved in an automobile accident, one of the most common injuries is whiplash. This injury occurs when the head and neck are forced backward, then forward, in a rapid, sudden, and forceful movement.
This action causes the cervical spine to experience an extreme level of stress.
Many whiplash injuries are caused by auto accidents where the individual suffering the injury was hit in the rear of their vehicle.
Whiplash may also be referred to as CAD, or Cervical Acceleration /Deceleration Syndrome.
Who Is Most At-Risk for Whiplash Injuries?
There are some risk factors that impact a whiplash injury. Women are more susceptible than men with this type of injury to experience a longer recovery period. People who are older tend to take longer to recover from whiplash when compared to individuals who are younger.
If there is severe pain at the time of the injury, the recovery time tends to be longer as well. Individuals who have been previously diagnosed with PTSD may also experience a longer recovery time if they receive this type of injury within an auto accident.
What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?
Whiplash may cause symptoms at the time of the injury. Some people may experience a delay of up to 24 hours before they begin to feel the effects of the injury. The most common bothersome symptom of whiplash is neck pain. Some people may only experience mild pain from the injury, which can be easily managed. Others may experience numbness or tingling in their neck. The pain from whiplash can also be intense and extreme, reducing the quality of life of the injured person until the condition can be treated.
In addition to pain, whiplash can also reduce a person’s range of motion. It may create instability within the neck. Muscle stiffness, with or without pain, may be present. Whiplash may also cause pain in the shoulders or the upper back. Some people may also experience headaches, including migraines, because of the impact of this injury. The tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness may radiate from the neck, down into the shoulders, and even into the arm for some people. What makes whiplash difficult to diagnose, especially in no-fault injury cases, is that the symptoms are similar to other injuries. Concurrent injuries that are not related to the accident can have similar symptoms as well, such as a pinched nerve, a shoulder injury, or a recent stinger.
Additional symptoms may also appear after the whiplash injury occurs.
- This creates a buzzing or ringing sensation in one or both ears.
- It is possible to suffer a concussion when a whiplash injury occurs, especially if the head came into contact with an object in the vehicle.
- Vision Deficits. Vision problems may include blurriness and distortion.
- Emotion Changes. People who experience a whiplash injury may become anxious, frustrated, or experience a panic attack in extreme circumstances.
- Whiplash injuries may make it difficult for some patients to sleep, even with proper neck supports in place.
If the impact of the auto accident is severe enough, whiplash is also known to create issues with memory, concentration problems, and thinking issues. Cognitive symptoms may appear immediately. Some may not be noticed until several days have passed after the injury occurred.
What to Expect with a Whiplash Injury
If you have experienced physical symptoms after an auto accident, then see a doctor for a checkup.
When a whiplash injury occurs, most patients are able to fully recover within 90 days of the incident. Some people, however, may have symptoms which last much longer. Chronic pain from a whiplash injury, in some cases, has been known to last for years. Even with pain control techniques and an effective treatment plan administered by no-fault doctors, chronic whiplash symptoms can impact a person’s quality of life.
There are some signs that a whiplash injury is serious and requires immediate medical attention.
- Enhancement of mental health issues, such as insomnia, depression, or increased irritability.
- Pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling sensations that radiate through the shoulder, arm, and hand – even if pain is not felt in the neck.
- Instability felt within the neck.
Delaying treatment for a whiplash injury may reduce the overall effectiveness of the treatment plan.
Whiplash is an injury that would be covered under no-fault obligations. If you have been in an auto accident recently and are experiencing pain in the neck, shoulder, or upper back, then visit a qualified no-fault doctor as soon as you can to ensure the ongoing quality of your personal health.
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