Whiplash is damage caused to the soft tissues in the neck when one’s head is forcefully thrown forwards, backward, or sideways.
It’s one of the most common types of injuries that results from a car accident, and economic expenses related to the condition can cost insurance companies up to thirty billion dollars a year in the United States.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms may be felt immediately or it may take twenty-four hours to a few days. They include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
- Shoulder pain
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
To properly diagnose this condition, the doctor may move your head, neck, and arms, as well as ask you to perform simple tasks. An imaging test such as an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may also be required.
The goals of treatment are to control pain, restore normal range of motion in the neck, and to return you to normal activities. Treatment may include ice or heat, prescription medication, injections, or a foam collar (the guidelines recommend wearing the collar no more than three hours at a time during the first week after injury).
The outlook for a complete recovery is good if you receive the appropriate medical care. For a minor to moderate case of whiplash, the recovery time is about one month, while a more severe form could take six months or longer to fully heal.
If you have sustained whiplash in a car accident, please contact us to discuss your case.