Are you experiencing pain, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, muscle spasms, a stiff neck, or even memory disturbances? Have you been in a car accident within the last few months? Don’t ignore these symptoms of neck injury! If you’ve recently been in any accident that caused an impact or blow that forced your head to jerk forward or backward, you’re likely suffering from whiplash.
Whiplash, also called neck strain, occurs when a sudden force stretches and tears the muscles and tendons in your neck. Whiplash is often confused with neck sprains, which according to WebMD are caused by tearing of the ligament – the tissues that connect the bones to each other. In contrast, neck strains (whiplash) are caused by damage to the muscle or tendons. But according to WebMD, the causes, symptoms, and treatment of both neck sprains and neck strains are usually very similar. According to the Cleveland Clinic, whiplash sometimes causes a small vessel in the neck to tear, causing swelling and pain as inflammatory substances are released into the neck.
- Know the Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash often makes itself apparent through persistent pain. Keep in mind that sometimes, the pain of whiplash is immediate. In other cases, it can take several hours or days before your neck begins to hurt. According to WebMD and MayoClinic, symptoms may include:
- Pain, decreased range of motion, and tightness in the neck. The muscles may feel hard or knotted.
- Pain when rocking your head from side to side or backward and forward
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Pain or stiffness when moving your head to look over each shoulder.
- Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
- Headaches at the base of the skull that radiate towards the forehead.
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Make Sure Your Injuries are Properly Diagnosed
To diagnose neck strain, your doctor will give you a thorough examination. While MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays are sometimes suggested to diagnose whiplash, Cleveland Clinic points out that many times the whiplash injury occurs within structures too small to be seen in these tests. This is true even if you are experiencing pain. As a result, the symptoms – including the type of pain you are experiencing – remain the primary way to diagnose whiplash. However, you may also need X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other tests to rule out additional problems, says WebMD.
It’s important to remember that the blow that causes neck strain can sometimes cause a concussion, too. Concussions can be serious, so you need to see a doctor for a thorough medical examination right away if you experience any symptoms of neck strain. You need immediate, emergency medical care if you have a headache that worsens or persists, have weakness or trouble talking, or are confused, dizzy, nauseous, excessively sleepy, or unconscious.
3. Get Effective Treatment for Whiplash
Given time, whiplash should heal on its own. To support recovery, WebMD suggests:
- Icing your neck to reduce pain and swelling promptly after the injury. Continue for 15 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. Wrap the ice in a thin towel or cloth to prevent injury to the skin.
- Taking painkillers or other medications, only if recommended by your doctor.
- Using a neck brace or collar if your doctor recommends it. However, these are not recommended for long-term use, as they can actually weaken the muscles in your neck.
- Applying moist heat to your neck, only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your neck only after the initial swelling has gone down.
- Additional treatments, such as massages
- Get Full Financial Compensation for Your Injuries
Car accidents can lead to serious injuries with exorbitant medical bills. Just whiplash alone can result in expensive medical treatments, as well as a possible loss of income due to missing work and reduced productivity. And there’s a high likelihood that you’re not at fault for your injuries. Whiplash and personal injury cases often go hand in hand. Cleveland Clinic states that some of the most common ways to get whiplash include:
- Being hit from behind by another car
- Being hit when your car is stopped
- Not being at fault in the accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence in Boca Raton, FL, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your medical expenses and more! A personal injury attorney can help you fight for the compensation that is rightfully yours! Call (561) 508-8800 to get started or send us a message online.