For many people, whiplash is a fairly minor injury that has a reputation of being exaggerated, abused, and over-dramatized (think: giant foam neck brace) by the victim. As Virginia car accident attorneys with decades of experience in the field, we know that whiplash injuries can be devastating and permanently impact the quality of the victim’s life.
Can I have whiplash even if my neck doesn’t hurt?
If you experience neck pain, shoulder pain, or headaches after a car accident, even a minor one, you could have undiagnosed whiplash. Reach out to the Virginia Beach personal injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free consultation to find out if you are entitled to damages.
Whiplash Can Affect Your Upper Back, Not Just Your Neck
Whiplash derives its name from the sudden back-and-forth motion a person’s head makes during a car accident. The unexpected force of the impact snaps the neck well beyond its standard range of motion.
This violent whipping action can severely strain the bones, ligaments, and muscles in the victim’s neck. The nerves located along their upper back could also be affected. In cases of severe whiplash, cervical bones may fracture and soft tissue could tear.
Whiplash Can Be Indicated By A Wide Variety of Symptoms
Each case of whiplash is unique. There are, however, a few symptoms that are more common than others, including:
- Recurring headaches
- Stiffness and pain in the neck
- Limited range of movement
- Pain in the upper back or shoulders
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and arms
- Problems concentrating
- Depression, severe mood swings, irritability
It is important to remember that the symptoms of whiplash often take a few days or, in some cases, even a week to appear. One cause of this is that the adrenaline released by your body during a car crash acts as a natural painkiller and is very effective at masking post-accident pain. It is also not uncommon for accident-related injuries to take a day or two before making themselves known.
Whiplash Can Take A Long Time to Heal
There is no immediate cure for whiplash. Usually, the victim will have to treat it in much the same way as they would any other strain or sprain, and a major component of these treatments is simply giving the injured body part enough time to heal. Patients are widely advised to rest because the muscles cannot heal if they are being used, which means they are unable to work until they are better.
In order to make you more comfortable, your physician may try to treat specific symptoms. You might be given a prescription for something to treat pain and inflammation, or something to help you sleep. If you display symptoms such as depression and irritability, you might be advised to see a therapist or take antidepressants.
To ensure proper treatment, you need to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms. Even a moderate whiplash injury can be challenging to treat and take months to fully heal. A serious whiplash injury could have you out of commission for a year or more.
A Neck Brace Is No Longer the Recommended Course of Treatment
The severity of your injuries will be the deciding factor in the type of treatment you ultimately receive. Current medical research has shown that immobilizing the victim’s neck with a neck brace has fallen out of favor with healthcare providers and that patients respond much better to routine physical therapy. This, combined with stretching exercises and massages has been proven to not only be the quickest road to recovery but to make the patient more comfortable as well.
Whatever your recommended course of treatment, you should always follow your physician’s advice. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you are not seeing any signs of improvement.
Some Whiplash Injuries Need Surgery
Serious whiplash can damage the vertebrae in the spinal column and/or neck. When the injury is this severe, it often requires surgery to alleviate spinal nerve compression and the pain it causes. Surgery is almost never advised for cases of mild or moderate whiplash, as long as nothing has been damaged but the surrounding soft tissues.
Patients who have to undergo surgery will face weeks of recovery. They also face the additional risks of surgical complications and infection.
Reach Out to a Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyer
If you are wondering if you are owed damages for your whiplash or other car accident-related injuries, our attorneys are here to help. Schedule a free consultation with the Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp by calling (833) 997-1774 or through the contact form on our website.
For over twenty years, Mr. Sharp's law practice has focused on serious personal injury claims, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury claims. He also handles nursing home neglect cases and medical malpractice claims. Mr. Sharp has counseled numerous clients about the complexities concerning litigation of both pediatric and adult brain injury.
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