Based on rigorous testing, researchers have found that nearly 40% of all car crashes result in some kind of head trauma.
Including all of the neck, back, limb, and other physical injuries that occur, whiplash is the most common result of the head being thrown back in a crash. Whiplash recovery takes months, or else becomes a permanent part of your life if you’re in an unlucky position when an accident occurs.
Here is everything you need to know about whiplash, its symptoms, and what it takes to recover.
Causes of Whiplash
If you’re feeling whiplash, the first thing you’re probably trying to figure out is what caused it. Those strains in your neck muscles are occurring as a reaction to some event or incident.
Rapid back and forth movement or an extreme impact are what cause whiplash. The sudden movement puts pressure on your tendons and causes ligaments to stretch unnaturally. This can even cause them to tear, which is the result that leads to whiplash.
Any kind of physical abuse or contact sports like karate which lead to being punched or shaken cause whiplash. Any kind of blow to the head or a severe fall results in symptoms related to or leading to whiplash.
To find out the severity of these incidents, it’s necessary to go to see a medical professional. Chiropractors and rheumatologists have the necessary training to tell you whether or not you’ve suffered whiplash. While surgery isn’t the solution, there are other clinical solutions that alleviate pain and suffering.
Getting To Know The Symptoms
The symptoms of whiplash can vary from dull to sharp pains, located all along the spine and in the muscular tissues from the head all the way down your back. Whiplash sometimes encompasses injuries that affect intervertebral joints along your spine. The discs, ligaments, muscles, and nerves along your back are part of the system sometimes impacted by whiplash.
Suffering a rear impact crash pushes your body forward and throws your head and neck backward. This leads to neck pain and stiffness most directly. The indirect impacts appear as headaches, dizziness, and, in the most extreme cases, memory loss.
Some people suffer insomnia from the pain, persistent fatigue, or even depression as a result.
Most whiplash incidents aren’t reported, leading to a vague concept of what the impacts are. However, because the muscular system of the neck and back are both complex and fragile, we know that headaches, neck aches, and backaches are often related. We also know now that serious injuries impact other parts of our brains, which is how we know that depression and insomnia are related to whiplash.
Delayed treatment leads to longer-term problems. Permanent injuries often occur as a result of these injuries because they’re so poorly documented.
Treating the Short-Term Impacts
Whiplash doesn’t often last for very long. Many of the body’s injuries like these are ones that are self-healing. If the pain lasts for more than six months, it’s considered chronic whiplash.
Otherwise, these problems will go away with most over the counter medication.
If whiplash persists for a few weeks, make sure to seek help from a medical professional. Your doctor is the only one with the power to prescribe painkillers and muscle relaxers. If you want your health insurance to cover it, ask for a prescription for physical therapy.
There are other types of treatment available as well. Some people try acupuncture and electronic nerve treatments. The best treatment will come from your chiropractor or rheumatologist.
They often recommend massages to help bring the muscles back to good health.
Understanding the Long-Term Impacts
If the impacts occur for longer than 6 months, this has become a serious and chronic issue that requires medical intervention. There are a few serious symptoms to look out for with long-term chronic whiplash.
While the pain and stiffness that impacts your neck and shoulders persist, look out for other symptoms. The pain may also spread to your upper or even lower back. When you start to suffer headaches, it’s time to seek out some help.
Watch out for pain in your jaw. This means that your skull has been upset and you might need your jaw re-set. You could even suffer tooth damage.
If you find yourself with moments of blurred vision, this is a sign that you have some interior damage from this impact. Dizziness and ringing in the ears that accompany these feelings indicate that the problem is serious.
There are even cognitive and psychological results to look out for. Memory or concentration issues mean that brain damage has occurred as a result of whiplash. If you have trouble sleeping or feel constantly irritable or anxious, you’re suffering serious consequences and need to seek out medical treatment as soon as possible.
What You Can Do Now
If you recently suffered an accident or haven’t decided whether or not you’re suffering whiplash, try some simple over the counter treatments. Since most doctor’s appointments will end with a prescription for aspirin or Acetominophin, save yourself a trip to the doctor. Start off by taking two and seeing how you feel.
If your pain persists, you may require prescription treatment or muscle relaxers if your muscles are spasming. However, prescription painkillers make you unable to do many everyday tasks and can be addictive. Prescription painkillers should be your last course of treatment.
For anyone who is already seeking physical therapy, don’t miss an appointment. Your continued attendance is crucial to the success of your recovery.
Try alternating ice and heat packs while at home. If you’re kicking your feet up and feeling pain after a long day at work, try applying ice for 15 minutes and heat for 15 minutes in alternating sequences.
Practice a few simple necks, back, and shoulder exercises every day. This helps to rebuild the flexibility in your neck.
Whenever you sit or stand, try to practice your best possible posture. When you’re at least, be sure that your neck muscles are also at rest and not straining. You may even try wearing a foam collar while you sit around at the end of a day.
If you’ve just suffered your injury, that’s the time to wear a collar. Only do so for a few hours at a time, as it can harm as much as it helps.
Start Putting Together a Case
As you call each medical facility and start receiving treatment, you need to keep documentation of every point of contact. If you’ve just gotten into an accident, had a fall, or were assaulted, seek out care as soon as possible. Waiting too long means that you’re risking your medical care and treatment falling outside of the window of coverage you could be claiming.
Start by visiting your general practitioner or primary care physician. Describe your symptoms and be sure that they’ve recorded everything. Since its hard to document every symptom with a scan or an x-ray, your written record of symptoms is an important piece of evidence.
Getting fair compensation, unfortunately, requires you to jump through some hoops. However, if you talk to a lawyer and present all of the relevant documentation, you should be able to get what you’re entitled to.
Don’t fret about cost when you’re first putting together your case. Most personal injury lawyers won’t charge you until they’ve talked things over with you and decided whether or not you have a case. If they do decide you have a case, they take most personal injury cases on a contingency, meaning that they only receive a payment if you do.
After your injury, expect to have to jump through a number of hoops just to put your case together. However, once you’ve spoken with a lawyer and provided all of the necessary paperwork for them to put together a case, you should be able to walk away. With the right tools on hand, a competent lawyer gets your medical bills covered and ensures that you don’t have to do any more work.
Whiplash Recovery Can Be An Endless Road
Unless you’re young, extremely healthy, and quite lucky, whiplash recovery is a long and tiring road following an accident or an event.
If whiplash follows you like a shadow for months or years after an incident, it could cost you hundreds of thousands.
With the right preparation and representation, you’ll spare yourself a continuous headache on your road to recovery.
If you’re suffering emotional distress as a result of the incident causing your whiplash, check out our guide for what to do.