It is truly impossible to fully understand what it is like to cope with the aftermath of a car accident until you've been there. At our Panama City personal injury law firm, we often hear people remark that they underestimated how much neck and back pain can truly interfere with everyday life. Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries. It may also be the injury that people are most likely to dismiss as a mere nuisance, one that many people assume is an exaggerated complaint – until they experience it first-hand and learn whiplash injuries are quite real.
Whiplash is a form of neck injury that results from the head being suddenly thrust back and forth, like the cracking of a whip. Discussion of whiplash can be found on two of the most respected health information websites: WebMD and the Mayo Clinic website. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of whiplash. Even low-speed accidents can cause whiplash, with rear-end collisions among the most frequent culprits. Other potential causes include contact sports and physical abuse. Studies suggest that women are more vulnerable to whiplash than men.
Usually, whiplash symptoms begin to develop within 24 hours of injury. Common symptoms include neck pain/stiffness, back pain, headache, blurry vision, dizziness, and fatigue. Whiplash can also impact a patient's mental state, causing memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. There is no specific test for whiplash, but doctors will often run imaging tests in order to rule out other problems such as fractures or spinal cord injuries.
Treatment often includes pain management through medications, including over-the-counter and prescription strength pain killers. In some cases, injections and/or muscle relaxants may be used to prevent painful muscle spasms. Icing can help reduce inflammation in the early recovery period and heat may be used later to relax muscles. Physical therapy is often recommended, with exercises focused on stretching and strengthening neck muscles.
Therapists may also use manual therapies, electronic muscle stimulation, or ultrasound to help relieve whiplash symptoms. While foam collars were once a mainstay of whiplash treatment, most medical practitioners no longer recommend immobilization, and collars are used sparingly, if at all. Some patients find relief through acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, or other non-traditional remedies.
In most cases, whiplash symptoms subside in two or three months. However, some patients experience chronic pain that may last years. Sometimes this pain can be traced to an injury to the discs or ligaments in the neck. However, pain may also persist even when doctors are unable to pinpoint any specific abnormality.
Whiplash is real. If you are experiencing whiplash symptoms following an accident, you should seek medical help. If your injury is the result of someone else's negligence or wrongful acts, you should also contact legal counsel. Our Panama City whiplash lawyer has helped victims recover crucial monetary damages to help with medical bills, cover lost wages, and compensate the victim for significant pain and mental suffering. We understand that your pain and your injuries are real, even if they aren't visible. We promise to treat you with the respect you deserve.