You can sustain several injuries during a car accident, but there is non more misunderstood than whiplash.
What makes it worse is that whiplash is also one of the most common injuries in personal injury claims.
The misinformation and misunderstandings about whiplash have helped create unfortunate stigmas and stereotypes surrounding the notion of whiplash.
Some people assume that whiplash is always exaggerated by people looking for a payout after a car accident.
Others see whiplash as a legitimate injury, but it’s mild without any long-term repercussions.
The reality is that whiplash is a genuine medical complication with varying degrees of severity.
Fortunately, many whiplash cases will resolve in a matter of weeks or months, especially if you seek immediate medical treatment from a Nashville Whiplash Chiropractor.
However, it isn’t uncommon for auto accident victims to suffer long-term effects from whiplash.
This is surprising to many people, but if you have a deep understanding of whiplash, this reality becomes easier to accept.
In the article below, we will take an in-depth look at whiplash and its long-term effects.
What's A Whiplash Injury?
Whiplash-associated disorder (WAD), or whiplash, is a soft tissue injury to the neck resulting from a sudden distortion of the neck.
Severe whiplash often occurs in rear-end collisions.
During the collision, your body is shoved forward while your head remains stationary.
This causes a quick, jerky motion in your head and neck, resulting in whiplash injuries.
Whiplash is often caused by rear-end accidents, but it can occur in any type of car accident.
The most important fact of whiplash is that it can be very severe.
When you suffer from whiplash, it can affect the soft tissue, tendons, and nerves in your neck and spine.
This can, unfortunately, cause long-term effects, damage, and the need for continuing medical care, especially if left untreated.
Leaving a whiplash injury untreated can lead to chronic neck pain and major medical expenses.
Other Common Causes of Whiplash
Car accidents are the most common cause of whiplash.
But, whiplash can occur in any type of accident or traumatic event where the victim’s head or neck is forced back and forth suddenly and without warning.
Other common causes of whiplash include:
- Physical abuse
- Horseback riding accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Amusement park ride accidents
- Skiing accidents
- Falls from heights
- Bike accidents
Symptoms of whiplash aren’t always apparent.
Some people will experience short-term symptoms right away, but others may not see symptoms until days or weeks after the car accident.
Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash in the short-term include:
- lower back pain
- upper back pain
- severe headaches
- shoulder pain
- referred pain from the neck
- feeling “pins and needles” in the neck and surrounding area
- ringing in the ears
- limited range of motion in the neck
Long-Term Effects of Whiplash
Although whiplash is an injury to the neck and upper back, the long-term effects can reach much farther.
The most common long-term effects of whiplash include:
- Chronic pain
- Neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain
- Numbness, weakness, stiffness, or pain in the arms or legs
- Severe headaches
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Jaw pain
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty with memory or focus
- Ringing in the ears
- Stomach aches
- Various neurological symptoms
Several studies have also shown that people who suffer long-term effects of whiplash are more likely to experience mental anguish and emotional distress.
Researchers believe this is due to the frustration of dealing with an injury that seems like it will never go away and make life more difficult.
If you’re afraid you’re suffering from the long-term effects of whiplash after a car accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
They will tell you about your options for compensation for your economic damages as well as any ongoing pain and suffering caused by whiplash.
Who Is Most At Risk For Long-Term Effects?
The long-term effects of whiplash primarily affect four groups of people. First, according to a 2001 Neurology study, people with reduced neck [movement] were at the highest risk, and 75% of them were still handicapped after one year.
While whiplash can occur in any type of car accident, people involved in rear-end collisions are at a higher risk of developing chronic whiplash.
If you don’t seek immediate medical attention after suffering a whiplash injury, you are far more likely to suffer long-term symptoms.
Even if your initial symptoms aren’t severe, an aggravation to the initial injury can prolong recovery.
Children, senior citizens, and adults with disabilities are at higher risk for the long-term effects of whiplash.
Your position or posture in your vehicle can also lead to more severe whiplash, no matter how old you are or if you have any preexisting health conditions.
These groups tend to experience more severe long-term symptoms.
They also use more sick days, have a greater need for counseling or psychological therapy, and have higher rates of reliance on prescription pain medication.
Always Seek Medical Care After A Car Accident
In the event of any motor vehicle collision, you need to seek medical care right away, even if you don’t feel injured.
Many severe car accident injuries won’t present symptoms right away because of the rush of adrenaline that floods your body after a traumatic event.
The emergency medical personnel who arrive at the accident scene will take care of any immediate needs.
If you’re fine at the scene, you should seek chiropractic care soon afterward.
A thorough follow-up exam from a chiropractor can help diagnose any underlying injuries like a soft tissue neck injury you may not have recognized right away due to the shock of the accident.
If you are experiencing whiplash pain after a car accident, a chiropractor with Advanced Injury Care Clinic will treat your injury by treating your body as a whole.
They will examine the root cause of the pain and develop a treatment plan tailored to your injuries.
In addition to providing world-class chiropractic care, Advanced Injury Care Clinic can refer you to an experienced personal injury lawyer that can help with your financial recovery.