Whiplash—also known as neck strain or neck sprain—is a soft tissue injury of the neck. This kind of injury is more common than you think, especially if you’ve been in a car accident. Here are five things you need to know about whiplash.
1. How does whiplash happen?
Whiplash can easily occur after being rear-ended in a car accident. The sudden backward and forward movement of the neck can cause both the joints of the neck and your muscles and ligaments in your lower back to suffer injuries.
2. Symptoms of whiplash
The biggest symptom of whiplash is upper back and neck pain, which can start immediately. However, whiplash symptoms can sometimes take months to manifest.
While some only experience minor discomfort, others could suffer from:
- Tightness and muscle spasms
- Headache and dizziness
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Burning or tingling sensations
- Shoulder pain
Severe whiplash can even cause injury to intervertebral discs, ligaments, joints and nerves.
3. How is whiplash diagnosed?
Depending on the circumstances, your doctor may advise you to undergo an x-ray, CT scan, MRI, or a combination of the three. Different scans are better for visualizing damage to different types of tissue.
4. Whiplash treatment options
Most whiplash cases are treated by:
- Remaining active as much as possible
- Using a soft brace to immobilize the neck temporarily (if your pain can’t be controlled)
- Controlling pain with ice and heat
- Physical therapy
People with more severe cases of whiplash may require lengthier treatments, even spinal surgery.
5. Whiplash prevention
Because most cases of whiplash occur from rear-end collisions, the best form of protection is by always wearing a seatbelt, making sure your headrest isn’t too low, and avoiding driving in a reclined position.
While it’s impossible to avoid all injuries, preparation is key. And if you’re currently suffering from whiplash or other injuries after a rear-end collision, our lawyers can help. Give us a call right away and find out if you have a case.