Whiplash occurs when the head jerks forward and then back rapidly, causing the vertebrae of the cervical spine to stretch apart and then contract. The condition is especially common after car or trucking accidents where the driver is rear-ended and subjected to significant force from behind. It can take hours or even days for signs of whiplash to appear, which is why you should immediately seek help from a medical professional after an accident. Find out what you need to know about whiplash here.
What Are the Signs of Whiplash?
The trauma of whiplash can damage the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in the neck and upper shoulders, causing minute tears and inflammation. Subsequent symptoms often include soreness in the neck and shoulders, stiffness, and loss of range of motion. For example, you may find it difficult to turn your head.
Whiplash may also cause tingling or numbness in the arms or hands due to compression of a nerve. Other possible symptoms include headaches, ringing ears, and a stiff or sore jaw. Some people may experience TMJ symptoms, such as clicking of the jawbone joint when opening and closing the mouth.
How Can Whiplash Be Treated?
Always consult a doctor after a car or trucking accident and follow their instructions regarding aftercare. Generally, whiplash can be treated conservatively by applying ice in the first 24 hours and taking an over-the-counter NSAID to keep inflammation down. You should rest and avoid straining your neck and shoulder area during this time—no heavy lifting. Your doctor may also recommend wearing a neck brace to immobilize the area, and they may provide tips for stretches you can use to encourage soft tissue healing.
If you need help filing a personal injury claim for a car or trucking accident, trust Balderrama Law Firm in Carlsbad, NM. Local Attorney Frank Balderrama has been named one of the Top Lawyers Under 40 by the Trial Lawyers Association and is an experienced litigator at state and federal levels. He will fight aggressively for your rights, getting you the compensation you deserve. Visit his website or call (575) 234-1111 to schedule your free case evaluation.