You often see whiplash used as a punchline in TV comedies, where a victim pretends to have suffered the injury to get money from an innocent driver.
But in real life, whiplash is one of the most common injuries victims suffer in car accidents that are not their fault.
Whiplash is defined as an injury to the neck that is caused by a sudden back and forth motion that is often triggered by some type of impact. The name of the injury derives from the fact that the sudden movement of a person’s head is similar to the way a whip lashes out and coils back.
Most occurrences of whiplash in car accidents are caused by rear-end crashes. The reason is that when a vehicle is hit from behind it whips the head of the driver in the car forward and then back in a rapid motion.
That motion can damage the soft tissue of the neck and shoulders, and injure the tendons, muscles and ligaments. It can also tear the disks in a person’s back and cause nerve damage. This is why people who suffer from whiplash often feel tingling, numbness and shooting pain.
What Are Symptoms of Whiplash After Car Accidents
It’s not always immediately apparent after you’re in a car accident that you’ve suffered whiplash.
But there are some common symptoms that you should look out for, including:
- Increasing Neck Stiffness
- Constant Neck Pain
- Persistent Headache
- Back/Shoulder Pain
- Sudden Fatigue
- Decreased Range of Motion
Some or all of these symptoms may not appear for several days or weeks after the car accident. That’s why it’s important for you to visit a medical professional immediately after a crash, so that he or she can evaluate you.
Remember also that people who are older often suffer more serious whiplash, because their muscles are weaker and their bones are more susceptible to fracture. And if you have had a history of whiplash, it is more likely that you will suffer it again.
It can take several months for victims to recover from whiplash, usually with the help of intensive physical therapy and medication.
Taking Whiplash Injuries Seriously
Sometimes, car accident victims are fooled into thinking that whiplash isn’t serious, and that they shouldn’t seek medical treatment for this injury. But a whiplash injury can be serious, and it can cause problems in the futureif it isn’t treated properly. That’s why it’s so important for you to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as you are involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault.