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How Do You Know if You're Suffering From Whiplash?

Whiplash is one of the most common soft tissue injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. It occurs when a person’s head is jerked forward or backward, resulting in neck strain. This sudden and aggressive force can stretch and tear the muscles and tendons in a person’s neck and, though symptoms usually clear up, in some cases it is possible for whiplash to result in chronic pain. If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, make sure you seek medical attention as soon as possible to diagnose and treat your injuries.

Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Decreased range of motion, pain, and stiffness in the neck
  • Knotted muscles or muscles that feel hard
  • Pain when rocking your head side to side or back and forth
  • Pain or stiffness when looking over either shoulder or moving your head
  • Tenderness
  • Headaches at the base of the skull

In some cases, the pain of a neck strain caused by whiplash is immediate, though it is also possible for these symptoms to take several hours or even days before they begin to emerge. Postponing medical care can impact your ability to recover compensation, however, so it is crucial to always visit your doctor in the aftermath of an accident. To rule out other possible issues, your doctor might request tests like X-rays or CT scans.

Treatment for Whiplash

Although it is possible for whiplash to heal on its own, there are also some things one can and should do to help facilitate a full and speedy recovery, including:

  • Icing your neck: To help reduce pain and swelling after your injury, ice your neck for about 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days. Try wrapping the ice in a thin towel or cloth to prevent injury to the skin.
  • Take painkillers or other drugs: Before you take painkillers, however, make sure you ask your doctor. Generally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen are most effective in reducing pain and swelling. If over-the-counter medications fail to alleviate your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe painkillers and muscle relaxants.
  • Use a neck brace or collar: This can add support, but they are not recommended for long-term use, since they can weaken the muscles in your neck.
  • Apply moist heat to your neck after 2 to 3 days of icing: Heat should only be used after the initial swelling has gone down. Use a warm, wet towel or take a warm bath to reap the benefits.
  • Other treatments: Alternative treatments, such as massage therapy, might also be used.

Recovery Time

The length of time it takes for you to recover from your whiplash injury will greatly depend on the severity of your injury. For most, this injury lasts for only a few days, but other neck strains can potentially take weeks or longer to fully heal. Once the more acute symptoms of your whiplash are gone, your doctor might begin the process of rehabilitation, which might include gentle stretching exercises that gradually become more vigorous. However, it is crucial that you do not begin exercising without speaking to your doctor first.

Personal Injury Attorneys in Midland & Odessa

If you sustained a whiplash injury in a motor vehicle accident, you need to obtain skilled and experienced legal representation to ensure you are able to recover maximum compensation. At Dean Law Firm in Odessa, our team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to fighting on behalf of the wrongfully injured. Backed by a proven track record of success that includes tens of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, you can rest assured your case will be in good hands with us.

Get started on your case today and contact our law firm at (432) 214-8125 to request your free initial case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.