Whiplash Injury: What You Should Know
Understanding Causes of Whiplash
Whiplash is commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents; however, whiplash can also be caused by a sports injury, physical abuse, or being punched. Whiplash forms when a forceful extension of the neck damages discs, ligaments, nerves, or muscles. If the extension causes a small vessel to tear, then the neck will produce pain and swelling.
Other factors make some people more prone to whiplash than others. For example: having a history of neck pain, being younger, and working at a job that is mundane can contribute to obtaining whiplash injuries.
When diagnosing whiplash, doctors will touch and move the head, neck, and arms to see if patients are experiencing any tenderness or pain. Patients will be asked to complete specific movements that will determine the range of motion in the neck and shoulders, the degree of motion that causes pain, the amount of tenderness in the neck, and the reflexes and strength in the limbs. Depending on the evaluation, the doctor might order imaging to test for further damage, such as an x-ray, a computerized tomography, or a magnetic resonance imaging.
After receiving a whiplash injury, some people go on to experience Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD), which includes neck pain, fatigue, nausea, low mental and physical health, and cognitive impairments. Even though the majority of pain exists within the neck for WAD, pain can also reside within the jaw, head, upper and lower limbs, chest, abdomen, and groin. Pain within the thoracic spine can last up to a year.
Treatment of Whiplash
Each individual’s treatment plan depends on the severity of his or her pain. Most treatment plans consist of pain management, exercise, physical therapy, and foam collars. Pain management consists of rest, medication, injections, and muscle relaxants. Exercise consists of rotating the neck, tilting the head, bending the neck, and rolling the shoulders. Physical therapy can be necessary if an individual is experiencing ongoing pain. Physical therapy will help strengthen muscles, improve posture, and reinstate normal movement. Foam collars can be used for severe cases, in which the collar would hold the head and neck still. Because maintaining the neck still for too long decreases muscle strength, a doctor will need to instruct how to use a foam collar properly. Another form of treatment is to apply heat to the affected area to help loosen tight muscles.
Whiplash lasts longer in some individuals than others. Some individuals experience symptoms for a few days while others experience symptoms for a couple of months. As mentioned before, some individuals experience symptoms up to a year or longer.
Los Angeles Injury Lawyer
Our firm has experienced lawyers who have successfully represented clients for their whiplash injury lawsuits. We understand the financial burdens that accidents can bring, including current and future medical expenses, and loss of wages due to missing work. We believe our clients should be compensated for their damages and losses. If you, or someone you love, has experienced a whiplash injury, call the Los Angeles Injury Group at 310-954-7248 to get a free consultation.