Whiplash is a common injury that is often mistreated or ignored due to a lack of understanding regarding the condition. In most cases, whiplash occurs due to someone being hit from the rear while in a stationary position. There are two terms that describe whiplash conditions: “whiplash injury” is used to described the damage to the soft tissues or bone structures, and a “whiplash associated disorder” is used to describe a more serious, chronic condition.
The good news is that whiplash is not usually considered a life threatening injury; however, it may lead to an extended period of partial disability. Due to the widespread occurrence of these accidents, the expense related to whiplash reaches over 30 billion dollars each year in the United States alone.
Recovery from a Motor Vehicle Accident
While the majority of people who are involved in a minor accident will experience a quick recovery without any serious or chronic symptoms, there are others who will continue to experience pain and other symptoms years after the injury occurs. Due to the variation of symptoms associated with minor injuries, many have suggested that whiplash is not necessarily a physiological injury, but rather the symptoms are created in order for a person to see some type of economic gain.
However, no matter the fact that there will always be individuals trying to mislead the system in order to earn some type of personal gain, whiplash is a real condition that has real symptoms.
The Symptoms of Whiplash
Some of the most common symptoms that are seen with cases of whiplash include:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck
- Pain or stiffness in the shoulders
- Pain in the jaw
- Pain or weakness in the arms
- Visual disturbances
- Pain in the back
- Ringing in the ears
These symptoms will be most noticeable when you move your head forward or backward or side to side. You may also experience a tightness in your neck or a reduced range of motion.
If you suffer a more serious or chronic case of whiplash associated disorder, the symptoms you experience can include:
- Anxiety and stress
- Drug dependency
- Sleep disturbance
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
In addition to the symptoms that are listed here, people suffering from injuries due to whiplash may also enter into social isolation or litigation, which results from their symptoms.
Whiplash Treatment Options
If you do suffer from whiplash, in most cases, it will heal on its own. However, in order to recover you should use the following tips:
- Ice the affected area.
- Take painkillers that have been prescribed.
- Use a neck collar or brace if necessary.
- Apply moist heat to the areas that hurt.
However, if your symptoms are more severe, or do not seem to dissipate after several days or a week, you may be suffering from a more severe case of whiplash. In this case, you need to seek treatment in order to have the problem treated appropriately.