The Hidden Dangers of Whiplash Injuries

According to a report by the U.S. National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI), .03 percent of all Americans suffer from a whiplash injury caused by falls, sports-related accidents and most commonly, as a result of motor vehicle accidents. While .03 percent doesn’t sound like much, when one does the math that works out to just under 1,000,000 injuries per year.

Some whiplash injuries cause neck stiffness that is resolved within a few weeks through a treatment plan that includes pain medication and exercise. But some whiplash injuries can be much more serious.

What is whiplash?

The term “whiplash” was first coined in 1928 by American orthopedist Harold Crowe to describe a neck or cervical spin injury caused by acceleration-deceleration. In other words, a whiplash injury occurs when the neck is subjected to a rapid, violent back-and-forth action like one would experience in a rear-end car accident.

Data from studies in Europe, Quebec, Canada and the United States show that whiplash is often the most commonly reported injury by victims of lower-speed vehicle accidents.

Within the medical community, whiplash is referred to as neck sprain or strain or cervical hyperextension. What makes your neck such a remarkable piece of anatomy—its ability to move 90 degrees forward and backward, 180 degrees side-to-side and almost 120 degrees of tilt to either shoulder—is also what makes it so vulnerable to whiplash injuries.

A whiplash injury is damage to the soft tissue in the neck, including the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your neck and head and enable movement.

So, beyond stiffness and mild-to-moderate discomfort, what are the hidden dangers of whiplash? If you already had back, neck or spinal issues, these may become worse. Some people experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and problems sleeping.

Extreme cases may include irritability, problems with memory and concentration and even depression. There may also be pronounced complications in the elderly and those who have had whiplash in the past.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

It is important to note that whiplash symptoms may not be immediately evident after a vehicle accident and often don’t manifest themselves for days or even a week or more after an accident.

According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs and symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness which may worsen with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Headaches that often start at the base of the skull
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Because you may not feel symptoms right after an accident and because of the potential for serious problems, you should always seek medical help as soon as possible.

Learn more about legal remedies that may be available to you in a whiplash injury accident

Any neck sprain can cause issues from missed days at work to long-term pain. If you have suffered a whiplash injury resulting from the negligence of another in a car accident, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation from the skilled Texas personal injury attorneys of Burwell Nebout Trial Lawyers. To discuss your situation, please contact us online or call us at (281) 645-5000 to schedule a free consultation.