If you have ever experienced such severe neck pain that you can barely move and feel miserable, you could possibly be experiencing “whiplash.” Thinking back to when I was 18 years old and had a cheerleading accident in high school, I thought I had just pulled my neck. However, it turned out to be whiplash which resulted in two years of severe neck pain.
What is “Whiplash?”
“Whiplash” is the non- medical term used for a cervical strain, sprain or hyperextension injury. It is an injury to the soft tissue which can include ligaments, tendons and muscles. Most of the time, these types of injuries can take longer to heal than a broken bone that can be corrected in a cast.
Medicinenet.com states that the economic expenses of whiplash in the United States come in at approximately $30 billion a year. These expenses include medical care, disability, sick leave, lost productivity and litigation.
What are the symptoms?
There can be a variety of symptoms but most include:
- Severe stiffness and pain in the neck area
- Pain in the shoulder area
- Possible irritability
- Difficulty in remembering or concentrating
- Lower back pain.
How do you get Whiplash?
The most common way people get whiplash is through automobile accidents. However, it also occurs due to sports injuries, roller coaster rides, assaults, slips and falls, and unfortunately, even child abuse. It happens often when an abnormal amount of force or pressure is applied to your neck.
Are there ways to avoid Whiplash?
Obviously, accidents are going to happen and there are things that are completely out of our control. However, there are precautions to take that may help prevent whiplash.
- First and foremost, when you are in a car, make certain the head restraint is lined up properly to your head. If it is too high or low, the restraint is not helping in any way.
- Use your seatbelt properly and drive a vehicle with an airbag
- Monitor your children’s activities on the playground
- Do stretching exercises before sporting activities
- Follow all rules on carnival and amusement rides
- Report any suspected child abuse to authorities
How is Whiplash treated?
The trend of today is to have early movement instead of complete immobilization. The quicker you begin to move, the quicker it will heal.
Ibuprofen, gentle exercising, massages, heat, ice are the most common treatments of whiplash.
However, if your situation is as severe as mine was, it may result in you needing physical therapy, injections and ultrasounds. Either way, it can take quite some time to heal.
If you have been in an accident and believe you are suffering from whiplash due to no fault of your own, contact our Colorado personal injury attorney, R. Mack Babcock, for a free consultation.