Whiplash is one of the most well-known neck injuries that results from a car crash. It is caused when a driver or passenger’s neck is “whipped” quickly in any direction, from being struck from behind or from the side of the car.
And the condition is too common; according to an article published in 2002 in the BC Medical Journal, “In 1992 it was estimated that the annual incidence [of whiplash] in the United States was 1 million, although it has been suggested that this incidence has increased since then.”
Whiplash may only present itself as a minor neck pain to begin, or may not be apparent at all, only to manifest in other ways in the future. Once whiplash does manifest though, it can require costly and time-intensive treatments on the road to recovery.
Diagnosing the Range and Severity of Whiplash
Because whiplash is simply a blanket term to discuss a soft tissue neck injury caused by sudden movement of the head, a medical professional must properly diagnose the range and severity of the injury.
A whiplash fact sheet provided by the American Chiropractic Association claims, “Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck.” A sprain occurs when the “ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn.”
In more serious cases, an individual who sustains a whiplash injury may suffer from a ruptured or herniated disc, which can put pressure on a spinal nerve. Although uncommon, it is even possible for a whiplash injury to result in a fractured or broken vertebra.
A thorough diagnosis by a doctor can help uncover the root of the problem in order to discover the proper course of treatment in the future.
What are the treatments for whiplash?
Of course, depending on the severity of the whiplash injury, future treatments can range from rest and relaxation to physical therapy or even chiropractic care.
Some doctors advise injured patients to wear neck braces or collars for minor ligament sprains in the neck, although the article published in the BC Medical Journal states, “Collars and rest may be a serious impediment to recovery.” The article suggests that early return to activity may be one of the best ways to expedite activity in this case, as well as the “use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs…for symptomatic relief to allow early activity.”
In the event of a ruptured disc, rest and medications may be the best course of treatment, although in serious cases surgery may be necessary.
Only the most serious of whiplash injuries result in broken vertebrae. And according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “treatment [of cervical fracture] will depend on which of the seven cervical vertebrae are damaged and the kind of fracture sustained.” Treatment options range from wearing a cervical brace until the bone fully heals, or even surgery.
Contact an Accident Attorney if You Have a Whiplash Injury
Being involved in a car accident in which you sustain whiplash can leave you with a variety of possible neck-related injuries, some of which can have serious consequences in the future. Contact Rob Levine & Associates today. We can help you file a claim so you can acquire compensation to pay for your treatment and rehabilitation. Call us at 1-800-LAW-1222.