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Car Accident Whiplash

What is whiplash? You hear the term all the time following an accident but unless you are a medical professional or have just been in a California car accident, you might not really know what this common injury entails. For starters, whiplash is the most common California car accident injury. This neck injury occurs when the sudden jolt of impact forces your neck to move out of it's normal range or motion causing strain to the muscles and ligaments in your neck. While you can understand how the jerk motion of being hit by a car or truck can cause this type of injury, one of the most surprising things about whiplash is that you do not always notice it right away. It can take weeks, even months for the painful symptoms of a whiplash car accident injury to manifest itself. 

Whiplash Symptoms & Treatments

Whiplash is a soft tissue issue which means that MRI's and CT's will not show this type of injury. A medical professional can however diagnose you with this injury given your symptoms, including:

  • Limited range of motion in your neck
  • Stiffness
  • Soreness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • TMJ and other jaw soreness
  • Swellling and/or tenderness in your neck or shoulders

The extent of your whiplash symptoms varies among individuals and if you were seriously injured with other pressing injuries, you may not notice it right away if at all. What you should never do following any car accident is ignore the signs your body is telling you and not see a medical professional. If ignored, your whiplash symptoms could become chronic. Some of the treatments for whiplash injuries include:

  • Ice: Especially dealing with a minor case of whiplash (a slow moving rear-end collision, for example), you can benefit tremendously from icing your neck multiple times a day to calm down the inflamed muscles
  • Anti-inflammatories: Since the muscles in your neck and shoulders are inflammed and irritated from the car accident, taking anti-inflammatories such as Advil or Alleve can help to help with the pain and soreness you are feeling as well as accelerate your healing.
  • Muscle Relaxants: Your doctor will very likely prescribe muscle relaxants following your car accident to help calm the area and allow you to increase your range of motion. Muscle spasms are very common side effect of whiplash and the proper dosage of muscle relaxants combined with other treatments work well for many car accident victims. 
  • Steroid Injections: For more serious cases of whiplash, an epidural steroid injection (also known as a nerve block) might be recommended. An outpatient medical treatment, an epidural for car accident whiplash can help to alleviate whiplash headaches and other persistent symptoms.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation: Using thin probes to locate and trigger the damaged nerves believed to be causing whiplash pains, radiofrequency ablation attempts to "disrupt" the pain communications from the nerves and allow them to repair and hopefully heal.
  • Acupuncture: Many car accident victims find acupuncture helpful in relieving many of the pains associated with their whiplash by breaking up muscle tension that has built up around the injury points. 
  • Heat: While heat should not be applied immediately following your car accident whiplash, it can be helpful down the line to calm whiplash flare-ups.
  • Stretching/Physical Therapy: Getting your range of motion back and strengthening the weakened neck muscles is a process. Guided stretching and other physical therapy work can help with your long-term recovery.

Working with medical professionals cannot only help limit the extent and duration of your whiplash injuries but it can also help get you more money from your California car accident lawsuit. How? Because these various tests and treatments help give a realistic picture of the scope and length of your treatments. As California personal injury attorneys for over 40 years, our goal is to make you whole again-- financially and physically. Fill out our contact us form today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how Walch Law can help you.

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