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Whiplash from car accidents: Symptoms and treatment

When you consider the gravitational forces involved in the average car crash, and you also take into account the way the head is prone to whipping back and forth from the base of the neck, it's understandable how whiplash injuries can happen. Whiplash happens after a violent shaking of the head and neck due to tearing, ripping and straining of the neck muscles, ligaments and bones.

Sometimes in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, the whiplash victim has no idea that he or she is injured. However, in the days that follow, the neck could become stiffer and more painful to the point that the victim can't even move his or her head without pain.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Symptoms of whiplash usually show up within 24 hours of the accident, but symptoms could also appear after several days. Here's what you should look for:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck.
  • Headaches from the base of the skull.
  • Symptoms of dizziness.
  • Symptoms of blurred vision.
  • Constantly feeling weary.
  • A wide variety of other symptoms depending on the severity of the accident.

How do patients treat whiplash?

Treatments of whiplash rely a lot on time. A doctor may prescribe an over the counter pain pill, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and tell the patient to take it easy for a few weeks. Treatment could involve missing some work while the patient spends time at home. In more severe cases, the doctor might prescribe muscle relaxants and painkillers to prevent the muscles from spasming.

Alternating heat compresses with ice compresses can help a great deal to speed up recovery as well. A physical therapist may also prescribe some simple exercises to build flexibility and strength. Patients are also encouraged to hold their bodies with good posture while healing. In some cases, patients receive a foam whiplash collar like you see in the movies. This can provide support and comfort while your neck is getting better.

Patients might also benefit from chiropractic treatments, massage, acupuncture and electronic nerve stimulation.

Whiplash treatments could be costly

Depending on the nature of treatment a patient requires, and whether the patient needs to spend time out of work, a whiplash injury could represent some significant costs. These costs and others related to a New Jersey car accident might be recoverable in certain situations depending on the facts and circumstances.

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