When someone hears whiplash injuries, it usually brings up images of devastating damage to the neck. Truth is, whiplash pertains to a type of neck injury that is mainly a sprain. The pain can vary in severity ranging from a few days of mild discomfort to being in pain for months or even to permanent disability.
Whiplash injury is nearly always caused by traffic accidents usually when a stationary vehicle is struck from behind by another moving vehicle. When this happens, the occupants of the stationary automobile are suddenly propelled forward causing their heads to be momentarily left behind. The neck is bent violently backward and the muscles and ligaments at the front of the neck and throat are placed under a sudden strain. This results in minor hemorrhage into these muscles and ligaments. In severe cases, there may be momentary dislocation of one or more small joints in the neck. There may even be fractures of the neck bone.
Basically, a whiplash is a sprain of the ligaments which support the neck, and may not be apparent for 12-24 hours after the accident. Symptoms such as dizziness, ringing in the ears, or blurred vision are usually only temporary. On the other hand, difficulty in swallowing or veering to one side when walking are ominous symptoms which require prompt medical evaluation.
In most cases, the symptoms settle down within a few days. However, people may develop persistent pain and stiffness which may last for many months. Sometimes, there is a vicious circle of pain and stiffness giving rise to muscle spasm which in turn causes more pain and stiffness. The main danger of whiplash is that symptoms will become persistent.
If you have suffered from a whiplash injury in an automobile accident, you should seek medical help. Once you receive the required medical attention, you should consult an experienced accident attorney who can assist you get compensation for your injury.