Whiplash is a neck injury that results from an accident or traumatic blow of some type. When an outside force is applied to the neck area, and the neck is pushed beyond its normal range of motion, whiplash is often the type of injury to occur. Most common after auto accidents, whiplash is usually temporary but can be a sign of a more serious brain injury or neck/spinal injury. Whiplash is often discovered after assaults, construction site accidents, slip and fall accidents, and swimming pool accidents.
Whiplash: A Soft Tissue Injury
The neck area is the spot where the head and spinal cord connects, making it a very vulnerable part of the body. Ligaments, tendons, and muscles work together to carry out neck and head movement. When the soft tissue of the neck muscles and ligaments are impacted or stretched, neck strain or sprain can result. Neck pain and soreness, and an inability to move the head right, left, up, or down, are the most common indicators of a whiplash injury.
Even a minor car accident can cause serious whiplash. Even if there are no physical signs of injury, internal damage to the head, neck, and spine can occur based on the amount of force applied during the accident. While many whiplash victims experience neck problems right away, others may not notice any symptoms for several hours after the accident. Minor cases of whiplash can heal on their own, but for some, whiplash can mean a more serious medical problem. The effects of whiplash can resurface even months after an accident, and long-term complications can affect victims even years later. Accident victims should see a physician immediately if neck injury is suspected.
Signs of Serious Injury
Here are a few of the signs of whiplash that could indicate even more serious conditions such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, or bone fractures:
- Neck pain
- Neck swelling
- Neck, back or head tenderness
- Shooting pain
- Muscle spasms in the neck or back
- Movement problems
- Fatigue or sleepiness
- Shoulder, arm or back pain
- Blurred vision
- Loss of strength in extremities
- Delayed reflexes
- Breathing difficulties
- Speech problems
- Numbness or tingling
Treatment for whiplash depends on the degree of muscle and ligament damage. For minor whiplash injuries, neck massage, bed rest, ice therapy, and medication may be ordered. For more serious cases, neck immobilization, range-of-motion therapy, activity avoidance and other treatments may be used. If brain or spinal cord damage is detected, surgery, spinal realignment, and other invasive therapies may be used.
At Shelnutt & Varner, we help serious accident victims get the compensation they need to ensure the best medical care available. From lost income to medication, surgery, physical therapy, and future healthcare needs, it is our goal to make sure you are financially prepared to recover from severe head and neck/spinal cord injuries.
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Has a careless person caused your family pain and financial hardship? Talk to the personal injury team at Shelnutt & Varner today to learn about your legal rights. Please schedule a free whiplash consultation using our online contact form or by phone at 256-547-4988 today.