People often feel stiff and sore after a physically jarring incident such as a car accident. However, the fact that these aches and pains are common after such an event doesn’t necessarily mean that they are harmless or should be ignored.
You should consult a physician if you experience any of these four common signs of whiplash after a physical trauma:
- Neck pain and stiffness, especially pain that worsens with movement
- Headaches starting at the base of the neck
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the arms
- Pain in the shoulders or upper back
Whiplash may also cause seemingly unrelated symptoms, alone or in combination with the symptoms listed above. These include:
- Blurred vision
In rare circumstances, whiplash may even cause difficulty swallowing.
Causes of Whiplash
Whiplash takes its name from the motion of a whip cracking. It is this sudden, jerking motion of the head that causes the injury. Whiplash injuries often occur:
- In a car accident or other motor vehicle accident, particularly when the vehicle is rear-ended
- When a person is intentionally assaulted (for example, struck or shaken)
- During sporting events or practice, especially heavy contact sports
Whiplash injuries also sometimes occur in slip and fall accidents, or on amusement park rides.
Whiplash and Spinal Cord Injuries
Whiplash often heals on its own, with self-care such as icing, over-the-counter pain relievers and rest. In more serious cases your doctor may recommend treatment such as temporary use of a cervical collar, massage, or physical therapy. However, treatment of your symptoms isn’t the only reason to seek medical attention when you suspect that you may be suffering from whiplash.
Many of the symptoms of whiplash may also be signs of a spinal cord injury. Since spinal cord injuries are often sustained under the same circumstances as whiplash, it can be difficult to know whether your injury is a case of whiplash that will resolve on its own, a more serious case of whiplash that requires treatment, or a spinal cord injury that may be much more dangerous.
Testing for Spinal Cord Injuries after an Accident
When you’ve experienced some type of physical trauma and are exhibiting signs of whiplash, your doctor will usually conduct testing to screen for a spinal cord injury or other, more serious injury. Depending on how you were injured, the symptoms you report and the treating physician, this may mean an x-ray of your neck and back, a CT scan, or an MRI. This screening is critical, as untreated spinal cord injuries may result in chronic pain, limitation of mobility, and put your mobility and even your life at risk.
Recovering Damages for Whiplash or Spinal Cord Injuries
When you’ve suffered an injury because someone else was negligent, you may be entitled to recover damages. Some common damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Costs of physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Whether you sustained a whiplash / spinal cord injury when another driver ran a red light, were the victim of a battery or hurt your neck when a roller coaster jolted to a violent stop, you owe it to yourself to learn more about your rights and options. Just call (856) 692-6500 right now to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys at Rosner & Tucker, PC. We are here to help!