Whiplash is acceleration-deceleration forces on the neck which occur mostly due to auto accidents. These forces can result in injuries to the ligaments, discs, muscles, and joints of the neck or even other spinal areas. In some cases, there is no pain or damage at all. A whiplash often occurs in a car accident in California. If you were involved in a car accident in California, you may consider a car accident lawyer in San Diego.
Have you ever sprained your ankle? The ankle becomes swollen and bruised immediately following a sprain. The same is the case with a whiplash injury as there is no such visible damage on the surface area. The most serious whiplash happens in car versus truck accidents. The impact from a heavy semi truck causes lesser weight car to propel forward. For serious semi truck accidents, the person must contact a semi truck accident lawyer in California.
Feeling No Pain after a Crash Doesn't Mean It Is All Fine
Keep in mind that if you do not feel any pain right after the auto accident, it doesn't mean that everything is perfectly fine. Do you know why? Well, the chemicals in your body do an excellent job at masking the injury. Right after an accident, chemicals such as adrenaline and endorphins flood your body and they make you feel fine. However, some of the common symptoms start to appear within 24 hours, such as:
- Stiffness and pain in your neck
- Dizziness and nausea
- Blurred vision and difficulty in concentrating
- Sore muscles around the neck and experiencing difficulty in moving the neck
- Shoulder pain, arm pain, and jaw pain
It is crucial that even if you do not notice these symptoms, you seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Once you visit your doctor after the crash, he/she will ask you questions about how the accident occurred and what are your current symptoms. The doctor may ask several questions to determine the severity of your symptoms. Once the doctors gather the required information, he/she will move your head, neck, and arms. The doctor will ask you to perform simple tasks to determine:
- How easily can you move your neck and shoulders
- At what degree of motion you start to feel pain or if the pain increases at a certain degree
- How much is the tenderness in your neck, back, and shoulders
After asking a few questions about your injury and severity, the doctor will likely order imaging testing. Although these tests won’t help in finding out any abnormal changes, they are still helpful in ruling out other conditions. The most severe whiplash often happens in motorcycle accidents. Therefore, you should consult with a doctor and a motorcycle accident lawyer in San Diego for your whiplash injury.
X-rays – The doctor may order for X-rays of your neck from different angles to identify if there is any fracture or dislocation that is causing your neck pain. X-rays also help in ruling out the possibility of arthritis.
CT scan – This medical imaging test help determine if there is any possible bone damage.
MRI scans – This noninvasive test diagnoses medical conditions by using a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed 3D images. The scans detect not only bone damage but also injuries of soft tissues.
With the help of imaging tests and other symptoms, the doctor will determine your type of whiplash injury. Currently, the whiplash injury is classified into three types:
- Type 1: It is a mild injury case in which symptoms appear hours after or even the next day. There is no loss of neck motion, localized tenderness, or spasm, and the signs are minor. It takes a few days to sometimes weeks to reach full recovery.
- Type 2: It is a moderate injury case in which the patient starts to feel instant pain, loss of neck motions, and neck spasms. The radiating pain may be somewhat mild. The recovery period can be weeks or months, and there is a possibility that the patient might require long-term treatment.
- Type 3: It is a severe injury case because there is evidence of a pinched nerve. It may take weeks or months to recover, and sometimes the recovery is not complete.
Treatment of Whiplash
When it comes to treating whiplash, there is no holistic approach for it. Instead, the doctor focuses on providing a treatment that can;
- Slowly control pain
- Reestablish your neck's normal range of motions
- Help you get back to normal activities
Once the doctor determines the severity of your whiplash injury, he/she will create a treatment plan. In some cases, the patient only requires over-the-counter medication and some rest to recover. However, some cases require specialized pain treatment plan.
To control your pain, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Medication: If your doctor deems that the pain can lessen with over-the-counter medication, he/she will recommend a painkiller or anti-inflammatory medicine. Muscle relaxants are also useful in soothing the pain and loosening tight muscles.
Applying Heat or Cold: The doctor will recommend you use heat or cold on the area for 15-20 minutes for at least five times a day.
Exercise: The damaged tissues need to heal, and exercise is an excellent way to improve blood flow for proper healing of the muscles. Doctors often prescribe medicine because if the neck remains in one position then it can be really painful to move the neck. There are various stretching and movement exercises, such as:
- Tilting your head and trying to touch the shoulder with your ear (make sure you do not shrug your shoulders)
- Slowly rotate your neck (both directions)
- Pointing your chin towards the ceiling and putting it on your chest
- Rolling your shoulders
In case the symptoms of whiplash remain for several weeks, the doctor will recommend physiotherapy. Physiotherapy restores movement of areas with limitations by using different physical techniques. Your physiotherapist will teach and guide you about various exercises that can help strengthen the muscles of your neck and also restore normal movement. Physical therapy sessions vary from one person to another. After a few sessions, the physiotherapist may create a personalized plan that you can follow at home.
There are different treatments for whiplash as well. There is not much research done on these nontraditional therapies, but it seems that they occasionally deliver results. For instance, going to a chiropractor can provide relief from the injury. A chiropractor performs different techniques to manipulate the joints to provide pain relief. Acupuncture is another treatment that can offer pain relief to the neck.
Consider Legal Claim or Lawsuit for Your Whiplash Injury
After the accident, you should immediately get medical help. Once the doctor diagnoses your whiplash injury, you should strongly consider legal action if your injury was due to the negligence of another driver. You need to find the best California personal injury lawyer to move forward with your case. You shouldn't wait another day to file a lawsuit or claim. It is because insurance companies may claim that your injuries are not due to the car accident. There is also a possibility of your injury getting worse with time. Increase your chances by filing a whiplash claim or lawsuit without wasting any time.
If you have decided to file a claim or lawsuit, consider hiring the best California personal injury lawyer. Brad Nakase is inarguably one of the most experienced and respected California personal injury lawyers.
His expertise as a whiplash injury lawyer is beyond commendable. Contact Brad Nakase at (619) 550-1321 to get a free consultation.