Whiplash is a neck injury often caused by rear-end car crashes. Although it is often dismissed as a minor injury, whiplash can cause significant pain and disruption to your life and can even cause other long-lasting complications.
If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, it can be helpful to understand the signs of a possible whiplash injury. If you are able to recognize that you may have a possible injury, then you can seek appropriate help both medically and legally.
Signs that can indicate a whiplash injury
Whiplash injuries occur when your neck moves suddenly backward then forward. This movement can cause the tendons and ligaments in the neck to stretch and tear. It can also cause strained muscles as well as other injuries to the bones, disks and other tissues in the neck.
Symptoms of whiplash can appear right away, though they do not always do so. Most of the time, symptoms appear within 24 hours of the incident but could take a few days to appear.
Signs of whiplash may include:
- Neck pain that gets worse with movement
- Stiffness or reduced range of motion in the neck
- Headaches that often start at the base of the skull
- Pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Numbness in the arms
Although less common, some people also have blurred vision, ringing ears, irritability, difficulty concentrating or difficulty sleeping.
What to do if you think you may have whiplash
It is generally best to be checked out by a doctor after any car crash. However, if you have signs of whiplash after a car crash, it is especially important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. A doctor can help prevent complications from occurring, while helping you manage the symptoms with medications, physical therapy or other possible treatments.
If you received a whiplash injury because of someone else’s negligence, it may also be appropriate to seek legal action. No one should suffer any injury because of someone else’s reckless actions.