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What Is Whiplash?

If you have heard of whiplash, then it may be likely you heard it in the context of personal injury cases, an automobile crash, in particular. That is because whiplash is one of the most common injuries an accident will sustain if involved in a car crash. Whiplash can widely vary in terms of severity but it can, at the very least, be very uncomfortable and cause significant amounts of pain. Here, we will go into more detail about one of the most common auto accident injuries: whiplash.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash gets its name from how the injury occurs. Whiplash occurs when the neck and head are rapidly pushed backward and then quickly snapped forward, like the crack of a whip. The motion is extremely fast and puts a great deal of stress on the cervical spine in particular. Medically speaking, whiplash is known as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome. It is most commonly found in auto accident cases where the injury victim was rear-ended by another vehicle.

Whiplash symptoms can vary in type and severity. The most prevalent whiplash system is, however, neck pain. The neck pain can be mild, but can also be extreme. Some experience a pins-and-needles sensation. Neck stiffness is also commonly associated with whiplash as it reduces neck range of motion and headache. The pain that comes with whiplash will not necessarily be localized in the neck. In fact, many people with whiplash report shoulder and upper back pain as well. Whiplash symptoms tend to only last several months, but it can also lead to chronic pain as well as make a person more susceptible to other types of neck pain and injuries down the road.

If you have been involved in a car crash, please be aware that there may be a delay in whiplash symptoms presenting themselves. In fact, it could be upwards of 24 hours before you see any signs of whiplash. Be vigilant in seeking an immediate medical evaluation after a crash and take concrete steps to comply with your doctor’s follow-up treatment plan.

Whiplash can be difficult to diagnose in no small part because of the wide variety of symptoms it can present. A doctor will generally diagnose a patient with whiplash after reviewing the patient’s history and performing a physical exam. Things such as posture and neck misalignment will be particularly focused on during the exam, especially in a patient presenting after a car accident who reports neck pain. Any tenderness or tightness in the neck will also be noted. Neck range of motion should be tested as well. The patient will usually be asked to demonstrate mobility in rotating the neck and head as well as side to side and up and down motions. A doctor may also order diagnostic imaging tests such as an MRI scan or CT scan.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you sustained a neck injury such as whiplash in an auto accident? Get in touch with the dedicated team of personal injury attorneys at Compass Law Group. We will help you pursue your right to full and fair compensation for the injury you have suffered. Contact us today.

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