About six million car accidents occur throughout the US annually. As a result, three million people sustain injuries. About two million people sustain lasting injuries as well.
If you fail to seek immediate treatment after a car crash, you could sustain a whiplash injury. Whiplash could impact your range of motion, cause headaches, and change your quality of life.
Read on to discover whiplash symptoms and how to treat whiplash after an accident. Reviewing this guide could help you avoid a long-lasting disability in the future.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know after sustaining a whiplash injury today.
What Is Whiplash?
First, let’s go over the basics. What is a whiplash injury, exactly?
Whiplash injuries occur due to a sudden, forceful movement of the head and neck. In these instances, the brain suddenly moved back against the skull before hitting the bony protection inside your spine.
Depending on the incident, whiplash injuries can range from mild to severe. These injuries are also referred to as neck strains. The sudden force can tear and stretch tendons and muscles in the neck.
Though whiplash is common in car accident victims, it can also occur in amateur and professional athletes.
Neck strains are different from neck sprains. Strains occur due to damage to the tendons or muscles (tissue that connects muscle to bone). Sprains occur due to tears of the ligaments (tissues that connect bones to one another).
How to Tell You’ve Sustained a Whiplash Injury
A traumatic event could cause you to twist your neck at a high speed in either direction. As a result, you could experience pain symptoms in one side of the head. You might also experience dizziness, memory issues, or difficulty concentrating.
Other symptoms might include tingling sensations or stiffness as you turn your head.
After a trauma, try to move slowly to avoid injuring yourself further. Use ice packs and gentle massages to minimize swelling and pain.
Try to avoid activities like weightlifting, which can cause additional stress to the body.
If your symptoms persist after a few days, make sure to consult a doctor right away. Neglecting to seek treatment could lead to complications or lasting symptoms.
Some patients confuse a whiplash injury with other neck issues, like a cervical sprain. Visiting a doctor will ensure you receive a proper diagnosis.
If you were recently in a car accident, make sure to visit a doctor right away. Your doctor’s assessment can help you gather the evidence you need to file a lawsuit. Otherwise, opposing counsel might argue there was a gap in your treatment plan.
They might argue that you’re exaggerating your symptoms, too.
You can have a look here to learn more about why you should visit a doctor right away.
After a trauma, make sure to keep track of your symptoms. Consider when the symptoms occur and when they seem to subside. Take your notes to a doctor if your symptoms persist.
A few whiplash symptoms you might experience can include:
- Pain or stiffness while moving your head to look over a shoulder
- Pain when rocking your head side to side or forward and backward
- Decreased range of motion
- Tightness in the neck
- Muscles that feel hard or knotted
- Headaches at the base of your skull
You might not experience these whiplash symptoms until hours or even days after the accident.
In some cases, a blow that causes neck strain can cause a concussion, too.
If you sustained a concussion, make sure to visit a doctor right away. Visit a professional if you have a headache that persists or worsens. Let a doctor know if you’re nauseous, excessively sleepy, or dizzy, too.
Whiplash injuries usually heal on their own. You can assist the recovery process by icing your neck to ease pain and swelling. Ice the area for 15 minutes every three to four hours.
Make sure to wrap the ice in a towel to avoid injuring your skin.
You can also take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease your pain symptoms. Don’t use NSAIDs regularly, though.
Otherwise, you might need to use a collar or neck brace for additional support. Other treatments also include ultrasound and massage therapy.
After a car accident, consider visiting a chiropractor. A chiropractor or medical professional can assess your physical health.
First, they’ll determine if you suffered from a soft-tissue or bony injury.
Soft tissues include ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Usually, these areas can heal on their own. Chiropractic care can help you avoid future mobility issues and reduce your pain symptoms.
An adjustment could help reduce inflammation while increasing your joint mobility.
Bony injuries occur when one part of the joint moves beyond its normal bounds before returning to its rightful place. These injuries have more severe consequences. Your bones could become misaligned if you neglect to seek treatment.
Avoid Long-Term Effects
Most whiplash injuries resolve themselves after a few days. A more severe neck strain might require weeks or longer to heal.
The best way to avoid long-term effects is to visit a doctor right away. They can direct you toward the best course of treatment.
There’s no one remedy to a whiplash injury. Instead, you need to remain consistent with your care. Routine appointments will ensure there isn’t a gap in your treatment plan as well.
There isn’t much you can do to prevent whiplash that occurs due to an accident.
However, you can strengthen your body and neck to keep the muscles limber and strong. Exercising the area could prove beneficial if you sustained a neck strain in the past, too.
If you sit at a desk for long periods, make sure to stretch and take breaks as well.
How to Treat Whiplash: Your Guide to Easing the Pain
Learning how to treat whiplash will ensure you receive the care you need after an accident. Keep these tips in mind to avoid lasting effects from a whiplash injury. Make sure to visit a doctor right away to avoid complications as well.
Beginning treatment right away can ensure your body remains in the best possible shape.
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