What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash?

Were you recently involved in some kind of forceful impact or physical altercation? Have you suffered neck or shoulder pain ever since? If so, you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of whiplash.

Whiplash is a soft tissue injury that affects the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. It is caused by powerful blows, violent shaking, and collisions that jostle the entire body. When the head jolts back and forth rapidly, it can sprain, strain, or tear soft tissue.

The symptoms of whiplash may not become apparent for hours or even days after the injury occurs, but once they do develop, they’re often debilitating. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the upper body;
  • Limited range of motion in the neck;
  • Headaches that start at the base of the skull and radiate up;
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms;
  • Dizziness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Tinnitus;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Irritability;
  • Trouble sleeping;
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Depression; and
  • Poor memory.

Because such symptoms may not arise immediately, it’s wise to seek prompt care following any kind of accident, regardless of whether you feel fine. If left untreated, whiplash can cause complications that last for months or even years.

Below are some risk factors that can make a person particularly susceptible to the worst symptoms of whiplash:

  • A history of whiplash;
  • Older age;
  • Existing neck or back pain; and
  • A high-speed impact.

How Do You Treat Whiplash?

Because whiplash is a soft tissue injury, there is no way to “cure” it. There are, however, steps you can take to facilitate the body’s natural healing process and increase your chances of making a full recovery.

The three primary goals of whiplash treatment are to:

  • Ease the worst of the symptoms;
  • Restore the neck’s range of motion; and
  • Make it possible to resume a normal routine.

The most effective treatment modalities will depend on the severity of the condition. Generally speaking, though, you can expect your doctor to order some combination of the following:

  • Resting for a day or two after the injury;
  • Applying heat or cold to the neck for 15 minutes at a time;
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers;
  • Taking prescription pain relievers;
  • Using muscle relaxants in the short term to loosen tight muscles, relieve pain, and restore a normal sleep routine; and
  • Receiving numbing injections.

Getting in some gentle exercise every day and partaking in physical therapy can also facilitate healing. Your doctor or physical therapist can explain which activities and stretches will be most beneficial for restoring your neck’s full range of motion.

Discuss Your Case with a Personal Injury Attorney in Florida

If you sustained whiplash because another party failed to act with reasonable care, contact Emerson Straw. We will work closely with your medical providers and insurance company to ensure you’re being treated well while your case gets the attention it deserves. Call (727) 821-1500 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Florida.