Whiplash Isn’t Just a Pain in the Neck

What you need to know about recovering for serious cervical injuries

dreamstime_s_70848750Being hit from behind is shocking. You might not have even seen it coming. Afterwards, you may feel just fine, relieved that the accident wasn’t worse, only to feel neck pain and stiffness hours later. Even then, your symptoms might initially be mild, but could lead to chronic pain and disability.

Because of its delayed onset, car crash victims often don’t seek medical care for whiplash right away. Even if you received emergency treatment for another auto accident injury, you may fail to mention the neck injury you didn’t know you had. Predictably, insurance companies seize onto your silence as proof that your neck injuries are unrelated to your car crash.

I often have to educate insurance agents about whiplash. During 37 years of helping accident victims, I have acquired substantial data about the most common rear-end collision injury. I have also built a network of experts who provide important medical analysis of how whiplash occurs, the manner in which symptoms manifest, and potential complications of the injury.

Whiplash 101

Did you know your head weighs about 10 lbs.? Your neck supports your heavy head while allowing extensive flexibility for head movement. But your neck’s flexible muscles, tendons, and ligaments were not built to sustain a high level of force and so are particularly prone to serious injuries. During a rear-end collision, that 10 lbs. whips backward at high speed and then snaps forward, putting enormous pressure on your cervical spine.

The speed and force of the impact doesn’t have to be high to cause damage. Even a so-called fender-bender can cause whiplash.

Whiplash is a general term that describes multiple injuries, including strains, sprains, nerve damage, and herniated cervical discs. You may experience a number of symptoms, including:

  • Pain in your neck
  • Radiating pain in your shoulders and shoulder blades
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Stiffness and immobility
  • Headaches

Don’t be fooled if you feel only mild symptoms at first. Whiplash may grow worse over time and may result in long-term complications, including chronic pain, spinal misalignment, and immobility.

Why you should get medical care right away

Medical treatment may help you heal faster and minimize onset of chronic conditions. Medical treatment also creates an important record of your injuries that can help you recover damages.

Your doctor may order x-rays, a CT scan, or MRI to evaluate you for vertebra fracture, herniated discs, and whiplash. Depending upon your injury, he may prescribe rest, a cervical brace, pain medications, muscle relaxants, spinal manipulation, or physical therapy. Injections or surgery may be necessary if the whiplash is severe or you have other spinal injuries.

Make sure to keep records of each doctor’s visit and treatment. You’ll need this information to file your auto accident claim. Medical documents your attorney will need to pursue your claim include:

  • Diagnostic tests results
  • Doctors’ reports
  • Prescribed course of treatment
  • List of prescription medications
  • Mobility measurements
  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Acupuncture or other alternative care
  • Physical therapy assessments
  • Pain diary

Your whiplash is more than a pain in your neck; it is a serious injury for which you deserve fair compensation. If you have questions about pursuing an auto accident claim in Dallas-Fort Worth, schedule a free consultation with Berenson Injury Law. I am here to help.

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