Whiplash occurs when the neck moves forward and back in a rapid, forceful movement. It can result from any type of car accident, but may result most commonly from rear-end collisions. Many people think of whiplash as a relatively minor injury that resolves fairly quickly, as overall soreness from the accident resolves and the victim can start to move forward with normal activity. Unfortunately, sometimes, whiplash can lead to more serious complications, including ongoing pain and tension from the injury.
Many car accident victims do not show signs of whiplash at the scene of the accident. Often, symptoms will begin a day or a few days after the accident and continue for days or weeks following the injury.
The first sign of whiplash is often neck pain and stiffness. You may notice that you feel particularly stiff as you get out of bed a few days after the accident, or that pain seems to be increasing even as other symptoms of soreness related to the accident start to resolve. Many victims with whiplash notice that pain increases when they move the neck. They may also suffer from loss of range of motion related to the injury, either because of the pain caused by those movements or because the muscles stiffen and make movement difficult.
Extreme whiplash may also cause other symptoms, including headaches, tenderness or pain in the arms, shoulders, or upper back, or tingling or numbness that runs down your arms.
How Long Does It Take Whiplash to Heal?
Most of the time, whiplash after a car accident resolves within a few weeks with relatively minor treatment. Some people may find that whiplash resolves with a few days’ rest or a visit to a chiropractor. Other people, however, may have more serious injuries, which may require more in-depth treatment in order for the victim to make a full recovery.
If you have Whiplash Syndrome, or lingering symptoms of whiplash, including increasing pain, you may have a longer road to recovery. People with severe whiplash syndrome may have increasing neck pain, a severely limited range of motion, and pain that spreads down to the arms and fingers, often increasing with any type of movement or activity. Whiplash can also include headaches, dizziness, or vision or hearing problems.
Victims with previous back and neck injuries, or those with extreme neck injuries as a result of an accident, may have longer-lasting symptoms of whiplash and poorer overall outcomes, including some long-term loss of mobility or ongoing pain.
Treatment for Whiplash: What to Expect
Atlanta treatment for whiplash usually starts with a full evaluation and diagnosis. A doctor will take a look at the full extent of your injuries and what limitations they pose. Then, the doctor will help you create a treatment plan.
For some victims of whiplash, rest and some light stretching will help improve symptoms and facilitate recovery. You may need to spend several days or even several weeks engaging in light activity, rather than engaging in vigorous exercise. Treatment for minor symptoms of whiplash often involves primarily pain management: heat and cold therapy, pain medications, or muscle relaxants. Your doctor may also want to carefully monitor your exercise or prescribe specific exercises designed to reduce overall pain levels.
If you have more serious symptoms of whiplash, you may need to go through several weeks of physical therapy to help restore normal function and reduce your pain levels. Physical therapy can help restore regular mobility and improve posture. You may need to keep up with physical therapy at home as well as attending some sessions with a physical therapist. As symptoms improve, you may be able to reduce sessions and get your life back to normal.
What To Do After Suffering Whiplash
Ideally, you should always see a doctor immediately after any type of auto accident, since a doctor can diagnose your injuries and give you a better idea of what to expect as you recover. Receiving Atlanta whiplash treatment promptly can prove critical to your recovery. However, in some cases, you may not realize that you suffered immense injury immediately. For example, after a rear-end collision, you might get out of the car feeling fine, with no obvious signs of injury, only to note pain and stiffness setting in days after the initial accident.
As soon as you start to notice symptoms, have your injuries evaluated by a medical professional. A doctor can provide you with a better idea of what to expect as you recover and provide you with vital advice that can help you better assess when you need further treatment or care. If your doctor recommends physical therapy, gives you exercises to do, or offers pain relief solutions, follow your doctor’s advice. You should also follow medical advice about limiting your activities for a few days after the accident, since your doctor may offer you a better idea of what activities could increase pain or worsen your injuries. If you cause further injuries during this time, you may bear liability for anything that worsens those injuries.
Next, get in touch with a personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights. Whiplash injuries can cause immense complications and limitations in your life. Often, they get overlooked as “minor” injuries. However, in the meantime, you may find your ability to work or engage in your favorite leisure activities curtailed by those injuries. An attorney can go over the compensation you deserve and help you file a personal injury claim.
Did you suffer whiplash injuries in an Atlanta accident? Do you need an Atlanta neck injury lawyer? Contact us today to learn more about your right to compensation.