When someone says they’re suffering from whiplash, you might think of a sore neck the day after a car accident. The reality is that whiplash has varying degrees of severity and a host of causes. 

Also known as neck strain or sprain, whiplash is a common term for a little understood injury. Over two million Americans experience the condition every year, but the signs and symptoms vary. As a soft tissue injury, whiplash may not appear on x-rays or other tests. Some people will be sore the next day. Others won’t experience symptoms until days or weeks later.

Whiplash occurs when an impact forcibly moves your neck. Think of the sudden push forward and snap back after a fender bender. A car travelling as little as five miles per hour when it strikes an object can result in a neck injury to a driver or passenger. A hard hit in football or a simple trip-and-fall are two other common causes.

Your age, your current health, the severity of the initial impact and how your neck moves in response to the impact all affect the severity of your injury. Similar to how the onset of symptoms varies between individuals, symptoms vary widely, but generally include:

  • Pain or stiffness in the neck, back and/or shoulders

  • Limited range of motion in your neck and/or shoulders

  • Numbness and/or pain in your hands and arms

  • Mood changes, such as irritability

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Inability to focus or other memory-related problems

These symptoms can overlap with other conditions, which is why it’s important to seek out medical attention as soon as possible after an accident.

Another reason to receive immediate medical care is to determine proper treatment. Icing the injury is usually recommended, but other remedies depend on the specific details of your injury and medical history. Doctors and physical therapists generally recommend moving and gently stretching your neck and shoulders to aid healing and avoiding stiffness. If you have other injuries or previous health conditions, however, stretching or other movement may worsen symptoms.

Receiving prompt medical care helps demonstrate that a certain event, such as a car accident, is the most likely reason for your whiplash. Waiting to go to a doctor until symptoms manifest may make it more difficult to connect the injury to its true cause, thus affecting any injury claim you’re looking to bring.

Diagnosis and treatment of whiplash can be costly. If you’ve been involved in an accident or other incident that resulted in injury, you need experienced attorneys who can help you protect your rights and ensure you get the care and treatment necessary to recover.

Jason & Bradley, LLC, located in Stone Mountain, Georgia represents those suffering from whiplash after a car crash or other accident. Contact us online or call 404-297-9933 for an initial consultation.