Whiplash is a painful injury that often occurs in car accidents. It is widely misunderstood, with many people believing that whiplash is a minor injury that doesn’t need to be checked out by a doctor. However, whiplash can cause lasting pain and limited mobility if left untreated.
Learn more about whiplash, and for more personalized advice regarding your claim, call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151.
Whiplash happens when the head and neck experience a severe jerking motion. It can also be described as a jolt to the neck and head. Many people experience it as a strong back-and-forth motion. It is similar to the cracking of a whip, hence the name whiplash. It is very common in car accidents, particularly rear-end accidents. While some people believe that whiplash only occurs at high speeds, it is still common at low speeds.
Side Effects of Whiplash
Trying to figure out whether you’re just experiencing neck pain or whiplash can be difficult. If you suspect whiplash after a car accident, watch out for these symptoms:
- Neck pain that does not go away with time.
- Neck stiffness.
- Limited range of motion in the neck.
- Headaches that radiate from the base of the neck.
- Tingling and numbness in your arms.
- Pain in the shoulders and upper back.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness.
When Whiplash is Serious
For many people, whiplash is not a serious injury. It passes with minimal treatment and lots of rest. However, it can become serious when victims do not take whiplash seriously. People may pass on medical treatment, assuming that they can just wait out the pain. This prevents them from getting the treatment they need. Some victims wait until severe symptoms, like amnesia and nausea, have set in. At that point, you are looking at a longer road to recovery.
Treatment Options for Whiplash
Treatment options vary, depending on the severity of your case, your overall health, and your age. Some treatment options for whiplash include:
- Rest and limited movement.
- Switching between hot and cold compresses.
- Medications to control pain.
- Physical therapy.
- Collars that limit movement.
- Injections to treat pain.
- Surgery, although this is typically limited to extreme cases of whiplash.
Protecting Yourself After an Accident
Knowing that whiplash can lead to ongoing pain and mobility issues for some victims, you may be wondering how to protect yourself. First, make it a priority to seek medical care after a car accident. You may feel fine or just feel a little sore, but that isn’t a reason to skip a checkup.
Some injuries take time to appear and waiting until they become obvious means wasting valuable recovery time. It’s better to get checked out and find nothing than to skip a checkup and miss a serious injury.
Second, follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. You may notice that both “limited movement” and “exercise” are on the treatment list above. This is because the best treatment for your injury depends on the severity of the injury and where you are in the healing process.
If you rush to get back into exercise when you should be resting, you could be causing permanent damage to your neck and upper back. If you stay in bed long after you’ve started the healing process, you could be weakening your muscles and failing to test your mobility limits. Your doctor’s personalized treatment plan is the best option for you.
Finally, hire an attorney to take care of your personal injury claim. If someone else is responsible for your injuries—and someone else usually is if you get rear-ended—they may be liable for the expenses you incur because of the accident. However, you can’t expect the liable party’s insurance company to pay a fair settlement without some pressure.
Your attorney can gather the necessary evidence and build a case proving the other party’s negligence, and then use that to begin negotiations. This helps you minimize the financial fallout of a serious injury.
Turn to Reeves & Mestayer for Help with Your Personal Injury Claim
If you’ve suffered an injury because of someone else’s mistake, you could be entitled to compensation. Let’s set up a consultation to talk about your case and your legal options. Contact Reeves & Mestayer online or give us a call at 228-374-5151 to get started.