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What is whiplash?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

All motorists must conduct themselves properly when sharing the road. This entails behaving courteously, following all traffic laws, and being aware of your surroundings at all times.

Even if you are a safe and responsible driver, you may still become involved in an accident. When involved in a rear-end crash, you have a chance of experiencing whiplash. According to the Mayo Clinic, this injury results from a sudden back and forth movement of the head, which harms the structures in the neck.

Symptoms of whiplash

The most obvious symptom of whiplash is pain and stiffness in the neck, which can inhibit range of motion. You may also experience a headache focused on the back of the skull. Other common symptoms include lightheadedness, tingling in the arms, and soreness in the shoulders and upper back.

Less common symptoms may also present. Look for ringing in the ears, insomnia, cognitive issues affecting memory, and depression-like symptoms.

Possible complications

Most people who experience whiplash recover quickly. In other cases, symptoms persist and develop into more serious issues. This is often the case in high-speed crashes, as well as crashes involving a person with a pre-existing back or neck issue.

Whiplash complications include more severe neck pain and a greatly impeded range of motion. Some people also develop chronic pain that lasts well beyond the initial injury.

Treatment options

Minor whiplash receives conservative treatments. Things like rest and hot and cold therapy are usually sufficient at reducing symptoms.

With more serious cases, physical therapy is often prescribed. This can entail an injection of numbing medication into the neck to allow you to perform therapeutic exercises effectively, as well as other pain medications.

Medical care is a must after a car accident. Even if you do not require immediate attention, it helps to follow up with your primary care doctor. Remember, symptoms of whiplash sometimes take days or weeks to present.