Because it doesn’t cause visible injury, whiplash often doesn’t get accorded appropriate respect. Just because it isn’t as severe as a spinal cord injury doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. People make a joke of it, as though it didn’t result in debilitating symptoms that can make someone miserable and keep them from working a job. The truth is that the condition can cause persistent symptoms and require ongoing medical care.
Whiplash is a painful neck injury that results from the overexertion of the neck muscles. When someone strikes your car, likely from behind, the sudden motions cause your head to jerk back and forth.
You may think the hot shower and some over-the-counter painkillers are all you need, but symptoms of whiplash can persist for many weeks or months. In fact, some people develop chronic neck pain if their whiplash is severe or goes untreated for too long.
Just because it doesn’t hurt right away doesn’t mean you’re fine
Popular media has given rise to the idea that people step out of a vehicle complaining of a neck injury after a collision. While some people do experience immediate onset of the symptoms related to whiplash, other times, the inflammation and swelling of the neck have to progress for a while before someone starts to notice the symptoms.
They can take up to a day or even longer sometimes for people to experience issues such as:
- Stiffness and swelling in the neck
- Serious pain in the neck or shoulders
- Numbness or a pins and needle sensation in the arms
- Difficulty turning the head
- Severe headaches
However, these symptoms can persist until the sufferer receives adequate care for the condition.
See a doctor as soon as you have symptoms
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself after suffering an injury to your neck that you believe is whiplash is talking to your doctor as soon as possible about your concerns. The longer you put off addressing them, the worse your pain and symptoms may become. You should also understand that delaying action too long could leave you vulnerable to claims that the injury did not actually result from the car crash you experienced.
The pain of whiplash can impact your quality of life or even keep you from doing your job until you fully recover. If that is the case, then you deserve compensation. A successful diagnosis of whiplash is a critical first step toward connecting with compensation through insurance or even a personal injury claim.
Stick with your treatment
A physician will likely prescribe a combination of therapy, exercises, rest and pain medication. The only way to recover is to focus on following through with these requirements. Following a medical plan carefully can also help if you have to seek compensation in the future, as you can demonstrate that your ongoing symptoms aren’t the result of non-compliance or poor decisions.