When a car accident occurs, there are many injuries that can take place. One extremely common injury that individuals involved in accidents can experience is whiplash. There are many varying degrees of whiplash that someone may sustain, and while some cases of whiplash may not seem very severe, there are often lasting effects that can linger. On the other end of the spectrum, there are some cases of whiplash that can be detrimental, debilitating, and difficult to recover from. Let’s take a look at what exactly this injury is, how you can tell if you have whiplash, and what other issues this can lead to.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury that occurs to the soft tissue primarily in your head and neck. When you are involved in a car accident, the violent and jarring forward or backward motion that your head experiences causes this injury. Whiplash can include injuries to ligaments and tendons in the neck and spine, as well as damage to the other surrounding tissues. This injury occurs at the moment of collision, however, sometimes symptoms may not show up until a later time.
Sometimes symptoms of whiplash are noticeable immediately, while other times they do not develop until a few days after the accident. Depending on how traumatic the collision was, there may be an excess of adrenaline that masks the initial symptoms of whiplash. This serves as a protection against shock and immediate pain, however, it can be difficult to get a full scope of your injuries until this adrenaline has worn off, which may take a little bit of time.
If you have been involved in a car accident, be sure to document any pain or symptoms that you experience in the week following your collision. Follow up with your doctor to review what you are feeling, as this will allow for proper treatment and the prevention of any further issues developing. Be sure to keep an eye out for these symptoms that could be indicators of a whiplash injury:
- Stiffness in Neck
- Pain in Neck
- Increasing Pain with Neck Movement
- Limited Neck Mobility
- Headaches (Especially Those Stemming from Neck)
- Pain in Upper Back or Shoulders
- Tingling and/or Numbness in Arms
- Extreme Fatigue
- Blurry Vision
- Mental Disturbances (Irritability, Difficulties Concentrating, Memory Issues, Depression)
Depending on the severity of the whiplash injury, it can last for a few days to a few weeks to a few months to even longer. In the case of the most detrimental whiplash injuries, individuals can experience chronic, sometimes even debilitating, pain that lasts for months to years after the accident. This chronic pain can greatly disrupt your ability to go about your everyday activities, to continue working at your job, and even can affect your quality of life and happiness.
Other lasting effects of whiplash can include permanent personality changes, ongoing memory or sleep problems, persistent tinnitus, sensory issues, difficulty concentrating, recurring migraines, and more. Leaving your whiplash untreated increases the likelihood that you could experience lasting consequences from the injury.