Whiplash after a Car Accident: Symptoms, Treatment, and Misconceptions

Whiplash, also referred to as neck strain or sprain, most commonly occurs as a result of car accidents. Most patients recover within a few weeks or months, but some experience complications and prolonged symptoms. Many who experience whiplash from a car accident experience chronic pain and other long-term effects of the injury.

Whiplash: Definition and Symptoms

Whiplash is characterized by pain in the:

  • shoulders;
  • neck; and
  • base of the skull.

It occurs when the body is forced forward or backward abruptly, causing hyperextension in the neck area.

When a victim’s body undergoes a sudden force because of the impact of a car accident, damage can occur in the intervertebral joints, spinal discs, ligaments, neck muscles, and other tissue, which may be classified as whiplash.

Some of the symptoms and effects of neck injuries include:

  • headaches;
  • dizziness;
  • decreased range of motion;
  • pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders;
  • sensatory issues (e.g., burning and tingling in the arms);
  • pain or numbness in the arms or hands;
  • low back pain;
  • fatigue and sleep disturbances; and
  • irritability.

Symptoms may not appear within the first 24 hours after the car accident. Regardless, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible to tend to any injuries. This is not only to protect your health, but also to protect you legally should you need to file a lawsuit or an accident claim for compensation in the near future.

Treatments for Whiplash

The pain and immobility after a neck injury from a car accident can be extremely frustrating. Not being able to move around properly without pain and discomfort can impact every aspect of your life, from sleeping to working. Patients just want to get better so they can get on with their lives.

Treatments for whiplash that may help alleviate symptoms include:

  • traction;
  • massage;
  • gentle exercises;
  • ice (for first 24 hours);
  • pain relief medications;
  • body mechanics training;
  • physical therapy;
  • injections;
  • surgery; and
  • ultrasound.

Common Misconceptions about Whiplash

One of the most common misconceptions about whiplash pertains to the causes of the condition. Many believe that only high-speed, serious car accidents can cause whiplash; but even low-impact, low-speed crashes can cause injury.

Another common misconception about whiplash is that it’s not really a serious condition. Granted, whiplash is not life-threatening, but it can lead to a period of disability, cause chronic pain, and have long-term effects if left untreated.

People also tend to think that because it’s not a “major” health problem, it’s not overly expensive to treat and manage. However, whiplash has substantial economic ramifications.

For whiplash, patients may face bills or losses related to:

  • medical care;
  • medications;
  • physical therapy;
  • lost income while recovering;
  • loss of working capacity; and
  • legal expenses.

Seeking Compensation

We understand the real ramifications of serious whiplash cases. If you were involved in a car accident for which someone else was at fault, we can help you fight for compensation for your injuries and loss of income.

For help with your case, contact personal injury attorney D.J. Banovitz today to get started. Call us at 303-300-5060.

D.J. Banovitz’ career has always concentrated on trial practice and he has litigated hundreds of cases. His passion and sole career focus has been to seek justice for people suffering from personal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence. The hallmark of the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, is the total commitment to professionalism, quality, and personalized care of your injury case. D.J. has dedicated his professional life to helping those most in need and is a proud and active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. His experience includes volunteering for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Montrose, the Colorado Aids Project, consumer law, family law, criminal defense, and Alternative Defense Counsel for juveniles in Denver.