Whiplash is a condition that can result from a car accident, especially a rear-ending, and can result in numerous consequences, including pain and limited mobility. If you have been in a car accident, you may not know you have whiplash because the symptoms take some time to develop. If you have any of the following symptoms of whiplash from a collision, we encourage you to get medical care right away and then contact our Duluth personal injury lawyer at Barrios Virgüez for support.
The Symptoms of Whiplash Are Not Easily Noticed
Each year, an estimated 869,000 collision-related cervical spine injuries, including whiplash, are treated in hospitals in the U.S., but the number of whiplash incidents is more likely to be closer to 1.2 million people, according to research reported by Science Direct. That discrepancy is evidence that many people suffer from this condition and do not obtain the treatment they need because they do not know they have it. Why is that?
Often, after a collision, your body’s neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments are stretched as a result of the rapid back-and-forth movement of the head. Initially, the adrenaline and movement do not cause significant pain, but over the coming days and weeks, the pain can increase and worsen, leading to the potential of limited mobility. Often, though, there are symptoms early on that can offer help and potentially allow you to get help sooner.
Pay close attention to your body and changes within the days after a car accident, noticing any instances of increased pain or limited mobility. Get in to see a doctor as soon as possible when you do notice changes. The following are some of the most common symptoms individuals have after a car accident that could indicate whiplash.
#1: Neck Pain
Neck pain may range from mild to severe, often worsening in the days after the incident occurs. Typically, neck pain is different from soreness, which could be expected after any type of injury. When the pain develops after the accident, worsens, and limits your ability to sleep or maintain your daily life activities, it is time to get help from a doctor.
#2: Neck Stiffness
The muscles in the neck, shoulder, and upper back can become very stiff, making turning, twisting, or nodding your head hard to do. Stiffness is a sign of the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles in the neck and shoulders. Often, with whiplash, neck stiffness will worsen in the days after the accident, making it hard to move the neck without discomfort.
#3: Lower Back Pain
A common symptom of whiplash that many people may not relate to the injury is lower back pain. However, the muscles in your neck are linked to the spinal column, causing pain and limited mobility not just in the neck area but all the way down your back. If you have a sudden onset of pain in your lower back, above your hips, that could be a sign of whiplash that needs to be addressed.
#4: Dizziness and Mental Fog
Whiplash can cause dizziness itself, but it can also accompany concussions, which are also common in car accidents like this. Dizziness, changes in mental status, trouble concentrating, or difficulty staying awake are all indications that you should seek out medical care as soon as possible. Concussions, if also present, can lead to damage to cognitive function and overall brain health, requiring immediate care and the right environment for the brain to heal.
#5: Pain or Numbness in the Arm or Hand
Whiplash can also trigger problems related to the nerves that travel from your brain throughout the various areas of the body, including down the arm to your hand. If you develop tingling or numbness in your arm, hand, and fingers, that could indicate damage to these nerve endings and whiplash itself. Damage to these nerves can also become permanent if not treated properly after such an accident.
#6: Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain is also common in people with whiplash, both as a result of the condition itself due to the rapid back-and-forth movement stretching the muscles in the area and as a result of inflammation developing where a seatbelt is located. Shoulder pain can be a dull pain, intense, burning-like, or stiffness. In all situations, it is important to address the pain, especially if it causes limited mobility. Shoulder pain can worsen when using your arm and even lead to the inability to hold or lift items.
#7: Changes in Mental Focus
Many people with whiplash experience changes in their mental well-being, such as becoming irritable or moody. Some people find that they are always tired and cannot get any rest. These are all conditions that can indicate that whiplash is occurring.
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What to Do if You Have Symptoms of Whiplash
If you have any of the symptoms of whiplash listed here or other changes in your health and well-being, seek out care at an emergency room or your primary care doctor. Even if you just feel sore, whiplash can be a dangerous condition if not given proper treatment. It could even lead to additional medical complications.
Once you seek out medical care, follow the recommendations set by the doctor, including all of the follow-up care you need. This can be critical to your full recovery from this condition. You may benefit from seeing a specialist if your symptoms do not improve.
Finally, make now the time to call your personal injury attorney at our office. It is very common for whiplash to be due to the negligence of another driver, such as one hitting you from the rear. If that is the case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them to recover all of the damages you have, including costs from medical bills.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorney for Immediate Help
With over a decade of service meeting our clients’ needs, you can trust Barrios Virgüez with your car accident case and recovery of your damages. Set up a free consultation with us to discuss your case. Then, let us fight for fair compensation for you.