Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained after an auto accident, with as many as 3 million people suffering from whiplash every year in the United States. While car accidents are a common culprit for whiplash injuries, you may be surprised to learn that they are not the only cause of this type of injury.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury that occurs due to forceful and rapid back-and-forth movements of the head and neck. The term “whiplash” refers to the neck moving like the crack of a whip. Whiplash is a specific type of neck strain or sprain.
Whiplash symptoms typically resolve after a few weeks and often have no lasting effects on victims. Unfortunately, some individuals will have long lasting pain that can persist for months or years after the initial injury.
What Causes Whiplash?
Whiplash is most commonly caused by a car accident, specifically when the victim is rear-ended. But any time the neck is moved in a rapid back-and-forth manner, whiplash can occur. That means that whiplash can also be caused by things such as:
- Sports accidents: Contact sports can potentially cause whiplash. When someone experiences any kind of collision, be it in a car, or with another athlete, they can experience whiplash. Football, karate, horseback riding, cycling, and boxing are just some of the sports where whiplash injuries can occur.
- Falls: Serious falls can cause whiplash and other related spine and neck injuries. During a serious fall, the head can violently jerk backwards, causing whiplash. Whiplash can be the result of a slip and fall accident due to the negligence of a business or individual.
- Physical abuse or assault: If a victim is shaken violently, this can cause whiplash. In fact, whiplash is one of the injuries that is often seen in shaken baby syndrome. Victims can also experience whiplash after being punched or receiving a blow to the head.
These types of whiplash injuries can cause damage to bones in the spine, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and other tissues in the neck.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash symptoms may not appear immediately after the injury occurs, but usually manifest within a few days. Common symptoms can include:
- Neck stiffness or pain that worsens with movement
- Inability to move your neck
- Pain in your shoulders or upper back
- Numbness or tingling in your arms
How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?
A mild case of whiplash can often be treated with rest, ice, and pain relievers. If these remedies do not work, then it is advisable to seek the treatment of a medical professional. Especially if you experience symptoms such as:
- Issues with bowel or bladder movements
- Weakness in arms or legs
- Severe pain that does not go away with over-the-counter medications
Doctors may order tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI to determine if there is damage to your spinal cord, and to make sure there is not an associated brain injury.
Complications From Whiplash
People who experience a rapid onset of symptoms that begin with intense symptoms are more likely to experience chronic pain from whiplash. In addition, if you have had whiplash before, or are already experiencing back or neck pain, you may be more likely to suffer serious complications from a new whiplash injury.
Other long term complications include:
- Pain or discomfort that can last months or years
- Permanent numbness
- Permanent loss of movement
How an Experienced Lawyer Can Help With Your Whiplash Claim
If your whiplash injury is serious, or has caused long lasting pain or side effects, then you will need to seek the treatment of a medical professional, no matter how the injury was acquired. While an auto accident can be a common cause of whiplash, as we’ve described in this article, whiplash can be caused by a variety of accidents.
If your whiplash was caused due to someone else’s negligence, then you may be within your rights to file a personal injury lawsuit. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced team at Thistle Law can help you review your case, and determine how to move forward with a free consultation. Contact us at 215-525-6824, or reach us by filling out our form here and speak with someone today.