Why whiplash injuries are so serious and possible treatment options
Car crashes can cause debilitating injuries. Catastrophic injuries take a long time to heal (if they ever do) and can leave a person struggling financially with mountains of medical bills. Whiplash is one such injury. While airbags and safety belts in vehicles have come a long way in reducing serious crash injuries, they do little to protect against neck-related injuries.
An estimated 85 percent of neck injuries result from car accidents.
Continue reading to learn more about whiplash, or reach out to a whiplash injury lawyer in Macon, Georgia to explore your legal right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
What is whiplash?
“Whiplash” refers to a common type of neck injury caused by sudden back and forth motion of a person’s head. The most common cause of whiplash is being rear-ended or experiencing a car crash.
When your car stops or moves suddenly, the rest of your body remains restrained thanks to the seat belt, but your head jerks forward. This forceful motion puts a strain on the neck tissues and bones. The cervical spine is extended beyond its range of motion, which can cause damage to the discs, ligaments, spine and brain injury.
Apart from car crashes, whiplash injuries can also happen during other accidents such a fall, sports contact, rollercoasters and physical abuse. This type of neck injury can cause unbearable pain to the patient.
Most whiplash injuries heal in a matter of weeks. Unfortunately, if you take too long to seek treatment, these injuries can develop into life-long complications.
Symptoms of whiplash
Whiplash symptoms manifest immediately after the injury or in the following few days. It’s important to get diagnosed by a doctor as soon as possible so that you can receive treatment and lessen your pain.
Here are some of the most common symptoms to look for:
- Stiff neck
- Limited range of motion of the neck
- Pain when you move your neck backward, forward, or sideways
- Headaches in the base of the skull
- Blurred vision and dizziness
The impact can sometimes also cause a concussion. This is why you are advised to see a doctor if you have been in an accident. Don’t assume the symptoms will just go away. The doctor will run several tests, including CT scans, MRIs and X-rays, to assess the damage to the soft tissues. Only these tests can confirm or rule out whiplash.
Whiplash treatment and recovery
The course of treatment depends on the amount of damage. The diagnosis will also reveal the inflammation of ligaments, discs, spinal cord and nerves. Below are some of the standard treatment options you can expect.
- Ice on your neck. Swelling is a common problem with neck injuries. Applying ice on the neck is effective at reducing any inflammation. Do this regularly throughout the day for about 15 minutes. Just remember to wrap the ice in a towel or other clothing to prevent injury to the skin.
- Medication. Painkillers are the primary medication for whiplash cases. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil and Ibuprofen can also help. Most of these medications have side effects and should only be used in moderation. If over-the-counter pain medications are not helping, then ask your physician for prescription painkillers. Always consult your doctor before self-medicating if you are already on other medications.
- Neck collar. You might have trouble moving your neck after the accident. A neck brace can help you avoid aggravating the injury further. These cervical collars allow the damaged tissue to heal appropriately. There are different types of cervical collars, so use the one recommended by your doctor. However, neck braces are not to be used for too long. They are just supposed to be a temporary solution.
- Massage. Kneading, rolling and stretching the affected muscles can help relieve any pain. Trigger point massage is the most effective option for alleviating headaches. Massages also improve blood circulation to the injured tissues, facilitating faster healing. For the best results, the massage should be very gentle.
- Chiropractic care. Chiropractors are experts at relieving spine-related discomfort. Whiplash can cause injury to the cervical spine located in the neck region. These professionals apply controlled force to injured areas of the body to relieve pain. The adjustments can treat complications involving tendons, muscles, bone and the spine.
Pursuing whiplash injury claims in Georgia
Whiplash is one of the common injuries covered by motor insurance companies. If a car accident caused your whiplash injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Since these injuries are never easy to prove, you need to find an experienced lawyer.
The statute of limitations for personal injuries in Georgia is usually 2 years, so don’t waste any time.
Your first stop should be to a doctor for medical examinations. Previous medical records will also be required to prove whether you had a pre-existing medical condition. The insurance adjuster will always try to settle for the least amount possible. An experienced attorney will fend off such attempts and help you obtain fair injury compensation.
When to consult a Macon personal injury attorney
Whiplash injuries should be taken seriously. A lawsuit can get complicated. However, with the right evidence and a skilled lawyer, you have a much better shot at securing fair compensation. Get your attorney involved in your case as early as possible.
The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove your case. Most people only focus on the damage to their vehicles and forget about filing for whiplash compensation. Don’t take any chances with your health.