Whiplash and its consequences

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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Drivers and passengers in California who are in car accidents often get whiplash from the impact. The consequences from whiplash can vary from mild muscle irritation to major nerve damage. Being aware of the symptoms and treatment strategies is important to decrease the chances of long-term effects.

According to Live Science, whiplash affects more than two million people every year. The jerking of the head can cause damage to the muscles of the neck, intervertebral discs, neck joints, nerve roots and ligaments. Depending on the severity of the accidents, whiplash can lead to muscle strain in minor cases and fractures or dislocations in more severe situations.

Symptoms can sometimes take up to 24 hours to appear, and they vary in intensity. According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms include neck stiffness and pain that gets worse with movement. Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of motion in neck
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness in upper back or shoulders
  • Trouble concentrating

More severe indicators of whiplash injury include numbness in the arms, dizziness, tingling in the extremities, blurred vision and depression. Even if symptoms seem minor, one should always get checked by a healthcare provider to rule out major damage or neck fracture.

Getting the proper treatment, even after minor accidents, can decrease symptoms tremendously. Immediate treatment may include ice, muscle relaxants and/or pain medication to help with acute issues. Long-term treatment may include physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, massage, acupuncture, electric stimulation of the muscles and at-home strengthening exercises. The goal of treatment is to manage pain and prevent future neck issues due to muscle, ligament and nerve damage.

 

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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