6 Things You Should Know About Whiplash

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6 Things You Should Know About Whiplash

Whiplash is a relatively common injury, but it is also incredibly misunderstood. Because of this, whiplash injuries are regularly mistreated, increasing recovery periods by days or weeks. If you believe that you have whiplash or another type of neck injury, it’s important that you know all of the facts before you get (or decide not to get) treatment. Here are six things that you should know about whiplash injuries:

How It Happens:

Whiplash is caused by a sudden backward or forward movement, leading to the ligaments and muscles in the neck to become overstretched, and the joints in the neck to become injured. This is most commonly the result of a rear-end car accident, but can also occur in sports, on roller coasters, and even from a fall.

The Symptoms:

The main symptom of whiplash is aches and pains in the neck and upper back. You might also experience tingling in the neck and upper back, difficulty swallowing, and concussion symptoms like dizziness and headaches. Symptoms and their severity can vary widely between different people, as can the times that these symptoms start to occur. While pain can start to develop immediately, it has been known for whiplash symptoms to take months to arise.

The Diagnosis:

Even if you only have mild pain in your neck, it should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. If they believe that you have fractured any bones, then they will send you for an x-ray. You might also be sent for an MRI or CT scan if you are believed to have sustained significant soft tissues injuries.

Treatment Options:

Most cases of whiplash are treated with some pain medication and sometimes a brace, if doctors believe that it’s required. You will also be encouraged to remain active to reduce the strain on your neck. If your whiplash is more severe, you might be offered physical therapy or spinal manipulation.

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The Aftermath:

If your whiplash was the result of a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you might want to visit your lawyer to see if you can make a compensation claim. When you do this, you’ll need evidence of your injury, such as a letter from your doctor. You will also need evidence that you’ve lost money because of the accident, such as with a letter from your employer or a receipt for car damages.

Prevention Tips:

Because whiplash happens so suddenly, there is little that you can do to prevent it from occurring. However, caution is important. Whiplash usually occurs as the result of a car accident, so make sure to drive safely and always wear your seat belt. Also, make sure that your headrest isn’t too low. If you participate in a sport, always wear the appropriate protective gear, and if you’re a fan of roller coasters, make sure you always sit back properly.

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Wikimedia Image

It’s usually incredibly difficult to avoid whiplash, but maintaining a good health and knowing the tips above can really help to speed up your recovery.

Featured Image By: Flickr

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