Many people who survive a car accident experience whiplash. Unfortunately, there are many challenges with this type of personal injury which prevents many patients from getting the help they need. One of the biggest challenges is that many people falsely assume that whiplash is not a serious or somehow not a “real” injury. Even patients with whiplash sometimes forgo medical treatment, assuming their injury is not serious. Of course, this causes some insurance providers to downplay the seriousness of whiplash as an injury. The truth is that whiplash is a serious injury causing much pain.
The other challenge with whiplash is that the medical community knows very little about this type of injury. Although it is a very type of injury, research has yielded few clues about it. Since research about the injury is scanty, some doctors have a hard time diagnosing the injury and treating it. Whiplash causes a wide range of symptoms and usually does not appear visibly on x-rays, making it hard to quantify and diagnose.
What is known about whiplash is that it affects the neck area and seems to be caused by a sudden trauma to that area. Slip and fall accidents, car accidents, sport injuries, and assault are the most common causes of whiplash, although this injury can occur from a long list of causes. Each person seems to react to whiplash differently and it is even difficult to provide a recovery timetable. Some patients recover quickly while others remain afflicted for an extended period of time. Some patients experience symptoms at once while others develop symptoms gradually. Symptoms can include:
* Neck pain or swelling (can extend to the jaw area)
* Spasms of the neck, back, or other muscles of the body
* Dizziness and nausea
* Stiffness in the neck or difficult moving the neck
* Shooting pain in the neck, head, arm, or shoulder areas
* Tingling or sensations of numbness in the extremities or limbs
* Irritability and Unsteadiness
* Ringing sensation in the ears
* Pain in the general facial area
Whiplash is hard to quantify and hard to predict. Some patients respond well to pain treatment and a brace for the neck (to prevent further neck trauma). Others require long-term treatment or must turn to alternative treatments – which are not covered by medical insurance – for relief. Most patients must miss at least some work and therefore lose some income.