In America, motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of serious injuries. Americans spend more than 1 million days in the hospital every year because of collision-related incidents, and as trucking accident law firms and other experts can attest, whiplash is one of the injuries that affects the victims of crashes most often. Just how does this sort of injury occur, and what can you do to recognize the signs? That’s exactly what we’ll be taking a look at today, as we cover some of the basics of this painful condition.
How Whiplash Occurs
Whiplash occurs when the neck is injured due to a forceful, rapid back-and-forth motion. In fact, the term “whiplash” derives from the motion the neck makes when you sustain such an injury — like the motion of a cracking whip. Most of us associate the term whiplash with auto collisions, because that’s when this sort of injury is most likely to occur. It’s not the only instance, however, and it is possible to get whiplash falling down, sustaining injuries during sports, or being subjected to physical abuse.
Recognizing The Signs Of Whiplash
In many cases, you can recognize whiplash merely by the painful symptoms, which generally appear a few days after a whiplash injury is sustained. These include neck pain, neck stiffness, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, a reduced range of motion in the neck, tingling in the arms and shoulders, and even additional symptoms like depression, difficulty sleeping, and memory issues.
While symptoms from whiplash can resolve themselves after a few weeks, if your injuries are severe enough, it might warrant a visit to the doctor. They’ll usually want to perform an examination to determine just how serious your whiplash is, and their tests may include some basic questions, physical tests for your pain sensitivity and range of motion, and perhaps even x-rays and other scans.
Managing Whiplash Symptoms
Whiplash can be painful, and while you wait for your body to recover you’ll need to effectively manage that pain. Some rest is good, but too much bed rest might delay your overall recovery time. You’ll want to combine moderate amounts of rest with heat/cold applications to the affected area. This will alleviate pain symptoms to the point where you can move a bit better.
In addition, your doctor may recommend some medications to relax your muscles or dull the pain, along with some exercises (like stretches) that will help loosen the muscles in your neck. In extreme cases, you may require physical therapy to get you going again, but hopefully your injuries don’t become so severe that it causes long-term physical limitation.