What is Whiplash? Information From an Auto Accident Attorney
Whiplash, also known as cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD) syndrome, is the most common injury associated with an auto accident. The Mayo Clinic describes whiplash as “a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.” Rear-end collisions with sudden acceleration or deceleration often result in whiplash. Johns Hopkins describes whiplash as “poorly understood” and goes on to say it “usually involves the muscles, discs, nerves, and tendons in your neck.”
Whiplash happens in an instant, and the victim may not always be aware of this rapid reaction. This video from Spine-health provides a helpful visual. Note the temporary loss of the C-shape lordosis curve in the cervical spine which Spine-health describes as putting “extreme stress on the facet joints and intervertebral discs before the muscles have any chance to stabilize and protect the cervical spine.”
Does Whiplash Resolve on Its Own?
You may have heard that neck pain from whiplash will resolve within a few days after an accident, but that is not always the case. In fact, Cleveland Clinic reports that “between 12% and 50% of people still have persistent neck pain after a year.” Trust our team’s nearly 50 years of combined legal knowledge and experience when we say there is too much at stake to put off seeking medical and legal care right away.
It’s important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis after your accident. Johns Hopkins recommends three possible methods for diagnosis, including an X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan. It’s important to note that soft tissue damage from whiplash won’t be visible on X-rays. Cleveland Clinic reports that “for most people, the injury occurs within structures too small to be seen in these tests.” Pay close attention to your symptoms and share those details with your healthcare professional.
Signs and Symptoms
The Mayo Clinic provides a helpful list of whiplash signs and symptoms. A few to look out for include:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck
- Pain that worsens with neck movement
- A decrease in range of motion (neck)
- Shoulder, upper back or arm pain
- Arm numbness or tingling
Possible Treatments **
** Your medical team will recommend a personalized treatment plan, which may include medication, loosening the muscles with heat and physical therapy with exercises to stretch, rotate and move the neck safely. Getting the help you need is not something you’ll want to delay. Timely care is essential in the healing process.
We Are Here to Help
Contact our personal injury firm if you or a family member has been injured in an auto accident in South Carolina. We offer a free consultation and 24-hour answering service. We have five convenient locations, with three South Carolina locations being fully staffed with full-time attorneys and experienced support staff, or we can meet you at your home or hospital, with evening and weekend appointments available. Call John Price Law Firm, LLC at (843) 604-3814.