Why You Should Take Whiplash Seriously
Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries—but just because it’s common doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. In fact, you should never ignore signs of whiplash after an accident, as this injury can have many lasting health effects. Without proper medical treatment, whiplash can cause chronic pain, reduced range of motion, ongoing dizziness, and other significant problems.
Continue reading to learn more about whiplash, including whiplash symptoms and treatment, as well as what to do if you suspect you have suffered whiplash in a car accident. If you wish to discuss your legal rights and options with a caring, experienced attorney, contact The Womac Law Firm today. Our New Orleans personal injury lawyers are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide the information you need to move forward.
How Do You Know You Have Whiplash?
Knowing the signs and symptoms of whiplash is important, as this allows you to seek proper medical attention and treatment for your injuries.
Some common whiplash symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Limited range of motion
- Pain that increases with movement
- Tingling/numbness in the arms
- Shoulder pain or tenderness
- Upper back/arm pain or tenderness
Though less common, some people with whiplash also experience sensory issues, such as ringing in the ears or blurred vision, changes in sleep patterns, trouble concentrating, memory issues, and mood changes, such as irritability or depression.
The Effects of Whiplash
Whiplash is a serious injury that has many short- and long-term effects. Immediately after the accident, you may experience numbness or severe pain, as well as pain and tenderness that lasts for hours, days, or weeks. You may also experience debilitating headaches, dizziness, and fatigue in the weeks following the accident.
Some of the long-term effects of whiplash include:
- Chronic Pain: Although most people with whiplash fully heal within a few weeks, some will experience lasting pain. Chronic pain can be debilitating, affecting everything from your ability to work to your ability to care for your family and go about your normal day.
- Reduced Range of Motion: With chronic pain and stiffness often comes significantly reduced movement. Some people with whiplash will suffer ongoing range-of-motion issues in their necks, shoulders, arms, and upper backs.
- Dizziness and Fatigue: Whiplash can also lead to lasting dizziness, fatigue, and other issues. These problems are not only physically draining, but they can also lead to significant mental and emotional distress.
- Mental Health Problems: When the effects of whiplash continue for weeks, months, or years, victims are likely to face serious mental health challenges. Chronic pain and other problems can lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, and other mood changes and disorders.
- Inability to Work: Many people who suffer long-term effects of whiplash are unable to return to work due to the considerable pain and other physical challenges they are facing. The inability to work may be temporary or permanent, but it is nearly always incredibly stressful.
- Limitations at Home: The chronic pain caused by severe whiplash can lead to limitations at home. If you have small children, you may be unable to pick them up, carry them around, or play with them. You may face challenges in caring for your home, your family, and your pets.
Because whiplash can have such serious short- and long-term effects, it is important that you see a doctor and receive proper treatment for your injuries. If you were involved in an accident and are now experiencing neck pain, stiffness, soreness, or any other signs of whiplash, see a doctor right away.
What Is the Best Treatment for Whiplash?
Whiplash affects each individual differently. Because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan; instead, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment based on the severity of your injuries and symptoms, the extent of the damage, and other factors.
Your doctor will usually begin treatment by first assessing your injury. Typically, whiplash is diagnosed via a physical examination and/or imaging tests, such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Your doctor may ask you to describe your injuries and symptoms, as well as how you were injured.
Next, your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan tailored to you. Generally speaking, the goal of whiplash treatment is to help patients manage pain, restore a normal range of motion, and get back to their normal lives.
Your whiplash treatment plan may include the following and more:
- Resting for several days
- Taking over-the-counter and/or prescription pain medications
- Application of cold and/or heat
- Short-term use of muscle relaxants
- Injections of lidocaine or similar numbing medications
- Rehabilitation and exercise
- Physical therapy
Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for whiplash based on the unique specifics of your situation. Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice and orders—attend all follow-up appointments, take all medications, and complete all physical therapy exercises as instructed.
The True Cost of Whiplash
In addition to the significant physical and emotional costs associated with whiplash, victims often experience considerable financial challenges. From being out of work to paying for your ongoing medical bills, the expenses associated with whiplash can be a serious financial burden for you and your family.
At The Womac Law Firm, we believe that you should not have to shoulder the cost of your whiplash injuries on your own. If someone else was at fault for the accident or incident that left you injured, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses, including your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and more. Our New Orleans personal injury lawyers can help you learn more about your legal rights and options during a free, no-obligation consultation.