Whiplash is one of the most common injuries to the cervical spine and is a particularly common injury in motor vehicle accidents. Whiplash occurs when there is a sudden acceleration-deceleration that causes the neck to “whip” forward and then backward. Whiplash is especially common in accidents where a car rearends another, with the person who was hit from behind being most vulnerable to whiplash injuries.
Symptoms of Whiplash
The extent of the damage of a whiplash injury can be affected by many different variables. Depending on how fast a vehicle is going at the time of impact and the force of the collision, symptoms can range from mild to severe.
In mild cases, an individual may experience dizziness, fatigue or even tinnitus (a ringing in the ears.) More severe cases can even include back pain and headaches.
Whiplash doesn’t just occur in large accidents. Victims of small-accidents often suffer from the injury as well. Beyond the impact of the rear-end accident, there are a few other factors which can influence the severity of an injury. These are:
Awareness of Impact
Sometimes, the driver of a vehicle will glance into their rearview mirror and notice that they are going to be rear-ended by the driver following closely behind them. In situations like these, people often ‘tense up.’ This tensing helps many potential victims to stabilize themselves and brace for an impact. This can actually help to reduce the risk of whiplash.
Some drivers do not notice the impending crash. Rear-end collisions often occur out of nowhere with little to no advance warning. If the occupants of the vehicle have no idea they are about to be hit, they will not stabilize themselves. Posture is a huge predictor of whiplash. If your head is turned or you’re slouched over you may suffer from more extensive injuries.
Comprehensive Physical State
Age and your overall physical health can affect the injuries you experience after a rear-end collision. A history of back or neck pain can place you at greater risk for suffering from serious whiplash. You age, weight and overall well-being affect more than just how severe your injuries can be. Your physical condition can also impact the amount of time it takes your body to heal after your collision.
While both men and women can suffer from whiplash, on average, men tend to have more muscle mass than women. Muscle can help mitigate the effects of a sudden jolt (like those that cause whiplash.) Because of this discrepancy in muscle bulk, women are more likely to suffer from severe whiplash symptoms.
Treatment of Whiplash
Because the severity of injuries can vary from individual to individual, treatment can also vary greatly from case to case. Emergency care professionals and Urgent Care workers often prescribe muscle relaxants and painkillers to help patients deal with the initial pain of their injury.
Chiropractic manipulations, physical therapy, and medical massages have also been shown to help many injured individuals. If the whiplash caused a herniation in one’s cervical spine, injections or even disc fusion surgery might be recommended. Because of this great variety of options, only health care professionals are qualified to help you determine the best treatment plan to ease your pain.
It is important to go to a doctor immediately after a collision. Follow all of the treatment recommendations your health care team makes–even if they first seem uncomfortable. The sooner you treat your whiplash symptoms, the more likely it is your body will heal quickly.
Whiplash and Your Personal Injury Case
Many of the symptoms of a cervical whiplash injury are silent. Because of the nonspecific nature of many whiplash symptoms and a small group of people who exaggerate injuries for financial gain, many wrongly believe that whiplash doesn’t exist. Whiplash gets a bad rep, and the insurance companies will often refuse to pay for some or all of prolonged whiplash treatment.
These conflicts lead many victims to experience anger, depression and untold frustration. These feelings don’t change the reality: whiplash is real. The pain victims experience is real. This is why it is critical to hire a Denver personal injury lawyer if you feel you may be suffering from whiplash.
Personal Injury cases are complicated at best and at worst incredibly frustrating. If you have whiplash symptoms, working with medical providers and focusing on your health can be stressful enough. Having the at-fault insurance company doubt you can be a trying experience.
Hiring an experienced injury attorney can help reduce this frustration, so that you can focus on regaining your health. Your injury attorney will know not only the law, but something about the mechanics of your injury and the medical treatments your whiplash symptoms require. Your personal injury attorney can help advocate for your health and best interests.
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