Whiplash Injury: All You Need To Know
Whiplash is not an injury you can simply shrug off. Car accidents can produce several types of injuries to the back, neck, and head, but whiplash is easily the most common. Even an accident involving only slow-moving vehicles (under 20 miles per hour) can cause chronic pain and discomfort victims can feel for years afterwards.
Oftentimes, whiplash injuries do not completely manifest until days after an accident. Victims will mistakenly think they were miraculously uninjured and attempt to return to normal life. It’s only a week or so later that they realize they were actually injured. The following is a useful guide to whiplash and how best to recover from such an injury.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an injury is defined as whiplash if it is “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” Statistics have shown that every year there are nearly 120,000 whiplash injuries in the United States alone. Common whiplash symptoms can be chronic pain, tenderness in the neck, a limited range of motion, stiffness or tightness, and headaches radiating from the base of the skull up to the forehead.
The first step you should take to treat a whiplash injury is to place ice on your neck as soon as possible after suffering your injury. Icing your neck will help reduce swelling which should, in turn, alleviate some pain you feel. Non-inflammatory drugs like Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen) can also help reduce pain and swelling. You should always check with your primary care physician, however, before taking any medicine that might potentially have negative side effects.
Once the swelling has gone down, you should apply a heated towel or take a long soak in a hot bath to further reduce any pain or discomfort you feel. In more severe instances, a neck brace may be required. But don’t wear a neck brace for too long, though. They can potentially weaken your neck muscles and cause atrophy. Massage therapy is a great avenue to explore if other treatment options prove inadequate.
Whiplash Recovery Time Frame
Like most other injuries, the recovery time for a whiplash injury depends largely on the extent of the damage done to the soft tissue. Some whiplash injuries might heal after only a few days, while others could potentially linger for months on end, if not for entire years. After your doctor has given you the green light to move on from rehabilitation, you should begin a regiment of exercises that help stretch and strengthen the muscles and ligaments you injured. Always keep in mind, though, that the recovery process for a whiplash injury is a long process. You don’t want to rush back to normal activity too quickly and cause yourself additional damage in the long run.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident or a slip and fall incident, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get back on your feet again. Without a professional attorney pursuing your legal claim, you could end up with far less compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t wait. Contact a skilled personal injury lawyer in your area today.