I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto car accident attorney. When it comes to auto accidents, one of the most common injuries people suffer is whiplash. Whiplash is caused by the abrupt movement of the head that occurs during an auto accident. This results in trauma to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that connect the neck and back. Frequently, people do not immediately seek treatment for the injury because they don’t have anything more than general soreness in the hours following the accident. Seeking medical attention immediately is important because the injuries that result from whiplash may not show up until days later.
What Happens During a Collision?
When an auto accident takes place, the entire body is subjected to rapid acceleration and deceleration forces in the span of less than a second. While the body is restrained by a shoulder and hip belt, the head and neck is free to move. When someone is rear ended, the car moves forward while the head remains upright. This causes the head to snap backwards against the headrest. This quick movement compresses the spine and stretches the front neck ligaments and muscles. Next, as the torso moves forward the seat belt stops the torso, but the unrestrained head snaps forward. This violently bends the neck forward and can damage spinal discs, displace vertebrae, or even cause brain damage.
Is General Soreness an Initial Symptom of Whiplash?
Generally, yes. The symptoms of whiplash are nonspecific, which causes people to write off the initial symptoms as general soreness. Common symptoms include pain the neck, back muscles, shoulders, or arms. This is due to stretching of the nerves that connect the neck to the upper body. If the injury to the neck ligaments is bad enough, patients may feel dizzy. This can cause headaches, trouble focusing, or a pins and needles sensation elsewhere in the body. It is important to seek medical attention because it may be unclear whether these injuries are the result of muscle or ligament stretching or actual brain damage.
Will I be Tested for Diagnosis of a possible Brain Injury?
Typically, yes. If a doctor believes that the patient may have suffered brain damage, a CT or MRI scan may be ordered. This is essential to getting a picture of what is happening inside of the skull. During a severe whiplash injury, the brain may slam against the rigid walls of the skull. This can cause a concussion, contusion (brain bruise), or even a brain bleed. A brain bleed can be deadly, but is easily diagnosed on either a CT or MRI scan. This is vitally important to assessing damage to the most important organ in your body.
How Long Will it Take to Recover from Whiplash Injury?
While most cases of whiplash injury will heal within a few weeks, more severe injuries can persist for months. In fact, a few people will still feel the effects from serious injuries over a year after the accident. Some people will have some degree of residual injury for the rest of their lives. An effective treatment regimen will consist of physical rehabilitation and chiropractic care. While some people may be skeptical on chiropractic care, these health professionals specialize in handling spinal injuries and is a very effective treatment for whiplash.
Modesto Whiplash Injury and Car Accident Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto car accident lawyer. If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured in a car crash due to the negligent or reckless act of another person, please call me anytime at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
See my long history of successful past verdicts and settlements.
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Photo Source of Whiplash Injuries: Law Offices of Edward A. Smith.