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Whiplash – Information About This Very Painful Condition

man rubbing his neck after a car accident; whiplashWe’ve seen it on television. We’ve watched it happen in the movies. Some of us have even experienced it in real life.

Two cars are involved in an accident. One driver wasn’t paying enough attention and rear-ends the vehicle ahead of them. The driver in the first car jumps out dramatically, holding their hand to the back of their neck and hollering at everyone nearby.

Scenes like this give whiplash a bad name. Yes, it is a real condition, but not a medical term. In fact, before automobiles were invented, the condition had a different name: railway spine. People involved in train accidents were the sufferers of the condition.

Despite what people may have come to believe, the condition is a very real one. If you’ve ever suffered whiplash, you know just how painful it can be. Here is some additional information about this condition and your rights.

How Whiplash is Caused

When the neck is suddenly extended due to a force, the ligaments, muscles and vertebrae in the neck and shoulders can be damaged. This type of injury is commonly found in rear-end collisions where the head is thrown forward and then back again in a fast or violent manner.

When your head moves back and forth so quickly, the spine can take the shape of an S. This can lead to injury in the muscles of the shoulders and back. When the trapezius muscle, in particular, is injured, the result can be constant and persistent pain.

3D rendering of the trapezius muscle
Trapezius muscle

Symptoms of Whiplash

If you were in an accident, you will typically know if your head was thrown forward and then back again. If this happened, you may experience whiplash. Then again, you may not. Your symptoms may not be immediate, but should appear within 24 hours. Those symptoms include:

  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Increasing pain in the neck
  • Limited range of motion in the neck
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in vision
  • Numbness in one or both arms
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Problems with memory

If you notice any one or more of these symptoms, it’s important that you go to the doctor, even if you visited one immediately after the accident. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and may request diagnostic imaging to rule out any other conditions that could be contributing to your discomfort.

Signs of whiplash shouldn’t be ignored. While the condition itself may heal on its own or with home therapy, there could be other conditions present that are causing your symptoms.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys and arrange a case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options and the best next steps. Call today to schedule your consultation and begin the process of recovering what you deserve.

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