What Are the Long Term Effects of Whiplash and How Can You Avoid Them?

Nearly 20 to 50 million people are injured or disabled after a car accident each year. Among these, many people are left to deal with the long-term effects of whiplash even months after an accident. 

For many patients, the symptoms of whiplash are lasting and debilitating. Whiplash is a real medical issue that can last between weeks or months, depending on the severity. Understanding more about whiplash and the symptoms can help you avoid them. 

Keep reading to learn about the long-term effects of whiplash.  

What is Whiplash?

Doctors often refer to whiplash with terms such as:

  • Whiplash-associated disorders (WAD)
  • Cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD)
  • Chronic whiplash syndrome

These terms all refer to the traumatic impact whiplash causes on the neck and surrounding areas. It can also refer to the inflammation people experience initially after the accident. Our bodies respond with inflammation (which is often associated with pain) to heal the body. 

This inflammation occurs through the soft tissue, tensions, muscles, and nerves throughout the neck and spine.

To simplify it, whiplash is a sudden, back-and-forth neck movement that’s often caused by force.

Common Causes

Many people associate whiplash with automobile accidents, including rear-end accidents. However, whiplash occurs when someone’s neck or head is suddenly forced back. Any number of accidents can cause this, including:

  • Bicycle accidents
  • Falls from great heights
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Physical abuse
  • Sports injuries (from karate, football, boxing, etc.)
  • Horseback riding
  • Amusement park rides (roller coasters)
  • Skiing accidents

Whiplash can range in severity, so the pain level is often different among patients.

Short-Term Symptoms

Now that you understand what causes this injury, let’s review the short- and long-term effects of whiplash. 

The short-term symptoms don’t always appear right away. In fact, you might not notice the pain until hours after your injury. It can even take days or weeks for these symptoms to develop.

A few of the short-term symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Headache after a car accident
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck
  • A ringing sound in your ears
  • Shoulder pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain and aching in the neck area
  • A pins and needles sensation

Whiplash can also cause short-term cognitive symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling irritated
  • Getting easily distracted

Don’t wait until you experience the full list of these short-term side effects. Instead, consider visiting a doctor or chiropractor shortly after your accident. They can help you manage your pain (and take a record of your symptoms) following the accident.

Long-Term Effects of Whiplash

About two million drivers experience permanent injuries every year due to a car accident. Among these, many people experience the long-term effects of whiplash months after the accident occurs.

Some of these symptoms will ease after a few weeks or months. 

It helps to receive treatment quickly following your accident.

In other cases, however, the pain and reduced range of motion associated with whiplash can last for years. Without proper treatment, you might even experience these symptoms for a lifetime.

A few of the long-term effects of whiplash include:

  • Bouts of dizziness
  • Chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Chronic pain and stiffness in the upper and lower back
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Personality changes
  • Severe, recurring headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • A ringing in the years that comes and goes
  • Numbness in the hands, arms, and/or legs
  • Blurry vision

There are also a few factors that can make you more likely to experience these symptoms. For example, a severe auto accident puts you at high-risk. If you fail to receive adequate medical treatment after the accident, you might also experience these symptoms. 

Other facts that include your chances of developing these long-term effects of whiplash include:

  • Suffering a bad injury that causes severe damage to the joints, discs, and/or ligaments in the neck
  • Re-injuring your neck before it can heal
  • Already suffering from a pre-existing neck condition
  • Experiencing a heightened inflammatory response to whiplash
  • Suffering a spinal fracture near the neck

To avoid these symptoms, you need to see a medical professional immediately following your accident. Otherwise, these symptoms can impact your quality of life. 

You’ll need ongoing medical care and treatments before your body can fully heal from the long-term effects of whiplash.

What to Do

Instead of allowing whiplash to impact your day-to-day routine, it’s important you know your rights. If you weren’t responsible for the accident that caused your accident, you should have to pay for treatment on your own. Instead, you can hire a personal injury lawyer at The Law Office of E. Marvin Romero to plead your case.

You could receive financial compensation after your accident if someone else was at fault.

For example, a personal injury attorney could prove a careless and reckless driver causes the accident. Their negligence could mean you’re entitled to receive financial compensation. Then, you can cover your medical expenses and receive the treatment you need. 

In many cases, you’ll receive compensation from an insurance company.

However, these insurance companies will try to pay as little as possible. Hiring a professional, experienced attorney can help ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible. Otherwise, you might experience the long-term effects of whiplash without receiving the compensation you deserve. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, take them to a doctor. Your personal injury lawyer can use your medical records to make a case for compensation. Make sure to keep a record of all your medical expenses and doctor visits.

Then, contact a lawyer right away. You might not realize how much you’re entitled to until they review your cases. 

Stop Suffering: Ending the Long-Term Effects of Whiplash

You shouldn’t have to suffer from the long-term effects of whiplash without compensation. If you weren’t at fault for the accident that caused your whiplash, you have a case. Consider contacting a lawyer to recover the financial compensation you deserve today. 

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