As a San Francisco personal injury law firm, our team spends a lot of time talking to car accident victims. We often hear people remark that they had no idea how much a car accident could change a person’s life until it happened to them. In particular, many say that they greatly underestimated the impact that neck and back pain can have on a sufferer’s everyday life. Whiplash is among the most commonly experienced car accident injuries. It is an injury that many dismiss as minor, believing it is often exaggerated or even imagined…until they experience it. As too many car accident victims have learned first-hand, whiplash is very real.
Whiplash: Causes & Symptoms
As the name suggests, whiplash is a type of injury that occurs when the head is suddenly thrust back and forth in a pattern that resembles the cracking of a whip. Two of the most reputable and respected health information website, WebMD and the website for the Mayo Clinic, provide useful discussions of the condition. Car accidents are among the most common causes of whiplash. Rear-end collisions are frequent culprits, with even low-speed collisions leading to whiplash injuries. Other causes include physical abuse and injuries from contact sports. Studies suggest that both structural differences and seating position render women more vulnerable to whiplash than men.
In most cases, whiplash symptoms surface within twenty-four hours of injury. Symptoms may include: Neck pain; Back pain; Stiffness; Headache; Vision problems; Fatigue; and Dizziness. Additionally, whiplash may impact a patient’s mental state leading to problems concentrating, memory issues, and irritability. There is no specific test for whiplash, although doctors will often order imaging tests in order to rule out fractures, spinal cord injuries, or other problems.
Treating Whiplash Injuries
Pain management is often an important element of whiplash treatment, including over-the-counter and prescription medication. In the immediate aftermath of injury, ice may help reduce inflammation. Heat is often recommended in later periods in order to help relax muscles. Painful muscle spasms may be treated using injections and/or muscle relaxants. Physical therapy is often a key part of whiplash treatment, including exercises focused on stretching and strengthening neck muscles. Manual therapy, electronic muscle stimulation, and ultrasound treatments may also be helpful in alleviating whiplash symptoms. Foam collars were once among the most common forms of treatment for whiplash, but most medical practitioners no longer suggest immobilization for whiplash patients and the collars are used sparingly or not at all. Non-traditional remedies that may help whiplash sufferers include acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, and massage therapy.
Most whiplash patients find symptoms subside within two or three months. In some cases, however, whiplash leads to chronic pain that may last for years. Pain may persist even when there is no specific, identifiable abnormality.
Representing Whiplash Victims
If we were only able to convey one message in this post it would be a simple one – Whiplash is real. If you experience whiplash symptoms following a car accident, you should seek medical care. If the injury stems from an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful acts in Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, or the surrounding regions, you should also contact our skilled Northern California whiplash lawyer. Our injury attorney has helped victims recover monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain & suffering. Our team understands that injuries and pain can be very real, even when there aren’t visible scars. Call to discuss your unique case.
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(Photo by gothopotam)