Even a minor car accident can cause a whiplash injury. While the collision may only result in a dent, the person may notice persistent neck pain. Many people believe that the pain is simply a stiff neck. But this is not the case. A person can experience symptoms of whiplash up to eight years after the crash. A medical provider can help a person determine what type of whiplash they are suffering from and develop a treatment plan that addresses the symptoms.
The majority of car accidents result in a neck injury, which may involve broken vertebrae. In addition, whiplash can damage the spinal cord, leading to permanent damage. Symptoms of whiplash include severe pain, headaches, and stiffness in the neck and jaw. Some people may also experience a tingling or numb sensation in the affected area. Some people may not experience any pain immediately, but it may take several hours or days to feel better.
The most common symptoms of whiplash are chronic pain and immobility. In addition, a whiplash injury can cause a lengthy recovery period and even result in permanent disabilities. After an accident, a victim may seek compensation from the party who caused the accident. While most injuries are resolved through a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, some cases require a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages from the negligent party.
What is Whiplash?
Symptoms of whiplash usually begin within a few weeks, though they may persist for months or even years. You’re more likely to have more severe injuries if you’re older.
The symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Pain or tenderness in the shoulders, upper back, or arms
- Decreased range of neck motion
- Pain with neck movement
You may additionally have:
- Sleep difficulty
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Difficulty concentrating and memory issues
- Blurred vision
- Ear ringing
- Sleep difficulty
The most common symptoms of whiplash are neck pain and stiffness, which may range in intensity. Other symptoms include pain in the shoulder, upper back and sometimes a headache. This condition can also lead to tingling and pain in the arm and shoulder. Symptoms are often confusing and may require several visits to a doctor, so it’s essential to get the proper diagnosis.
What if it’s Something More Serious?
Whiplash symptoms can sometimes be difficult to discern from other serious injuries, so it is essential to consider other causes.
Herniated Discs After an Accident
A herniated disc after an accident can be very painful. Symptoms can include pain in the neck, back, arms, and legs. Sometimes, it can be difficult to identify herniated discs.
After the accident, you must seek medical attention right away. A collision or car accident can cause the vertebrae in the back to become compressed and distorted. The spine can be damaged enough to cause the disc to rupture. Once the disc is ruptured, a gel-like substance called a herniated disc can irritate a nerve root and swell the surrounding tissue. The herniated disc can cause localized pain that can radiate to the legs and extremities. Other symptoms of a herniated disc include numbness and tingling.
Thoracic Spine Injuries After an Accident
The thoracic spine runs from the base of the neck down to the rib cage. It is usually damaged when a person suffers a high-energy accident or falls from a height. These injuries can cause fractures and nerve damage. Treatment may include bracing and physical therapy for several weeks or surgery, depending on the severity. The prognosis is better than for other types of spinal cord injuries.
Lumbar Spine Injuries After an Accident
A lumbar spine injury occurs when the force of a car accident damages the muscles and surrounding tissues in the lower back. It is one of the most common types of back pain. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, and tingling on one side of the back. It can also result in degenerative changes to the spine and can take months to heal. A doctor will diagnose a lumbar spine injury after an accident through clinical examination, as X-rays are often inconclusive.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The symptoms of spinal cord injuries can be very complex. One of the most common causes of a spinal cord injury can be an accident, a sports injury, or a fall. A person who has suffered an accident that damages the spinal cord is advised not to move until paramedics arrive. Once the paramedics arrive, they will perform the procedure using extreme care, allowing only minimal spine movement. During the examination, they will also assess muscle strength and the ability to feel light touch.
Traumatic Brain Injury After an Accident
The recovery process for people who have experienced a TBI depends on the severity of the injury and how long it has lasted. In some cases, mild to moderate TBIs can be easily overcome if the affected person can find strong support. Patients who are more seriously injured should consult a traumatic brain injury lawyer to determine whether they are eligible for a settlement.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
After an accident, a coup and contrecoup injury can occur when the brain is struck by a stationary object, such as a steering wheel. The brain collides with the skull and moves away from the impact site when this happens. The resulting trauma causes the brain to shift rapidly, and the body will be thrown from side to side and forward and backward.
Severe, Chronic Whiplash After an Accident
While many people think of whiplash as an acute injury, it can also be a chronic problem resulting in severe, chronic whiplash resulting in months or years of pain after an accident. Treatment depends on the condition’s cause, ranging from mild to severe, and can take several months to heal fully. The best way to determine whether you have suffered from whiplash is to seek medical care as soon as possible. Although you may not feel any pain right away, a doctor can prescribe treatments that help you recover faster.
How to Determine What Type of Injury You Have
Many different types of injuries can occur after an accident. Millions of people in the U.S. injure themselves each year due to a crash. Some injuries are minor, while others may be life-threatening. Injuries can occur in various environments – at work or play, indoors or outdoors, while driving or walking, and even in a car accident. A traumatic brain injury or a chronic whiplash and any injury on the head or back can cause severe damage and require extensive treatments.
Why You Should Seek Legal Help From a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident
Injuries are a significant cause of financial stress and worry, so it’s vital to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney after an accident. Often, the insurance company will settle your claim, but they will try to deny your claim or try to pay you a very low amount. An attorney can help you prove negligence and seek the compensation you are owed for the damages you’ve suffered.