If you have been in a car accident, you may not feel aches or pains immediately after the accident. However, the symptoms of whiplash from rear end collisions typically show up 24 to 48 hours after the incident. In some cases, they can be devastating, while in others, they cause neck pain that comes and goes. In every situation, if you are in a rear end car collision, seek out medical care from a local emergency room as a first step. Then, see a doctor in the days after the incident if you develop any pain.
What Is Whiplash?
Cases of whiplash occur frequently. Whiplash is a type of neck sprain or injury that results in damage to the soft tissues of the neck including the muscles and ligaments in the area above the shoulders. It happens as a result of the rapid back-and-forth movement of the head, usually with significant force. This commonly happens when a person is hit from behind during a car accident. The jolt from one vehicle hitting the other causes the head to move rapidly back and forth, damaging the muscles and tendons there. Whiplash can also be caused by sports or other traumatic events.
What Are the Common Initial Symptoms of Whiplash?
Many people with a whiplash injury will feel minor pain and discomfort right after the incident but some do not. Imagine being in a car accident and feeling your body tighten up. You may feel a bit of shock. If there is any adrenaline moving through your body, it will mask any symptoms. That is why you should always visit your doctor even if you think you are okay.
The most common initial signs of whiplash include:
- A mild headache
- Neck pain
In some cases, taking over-the-counter pain medication may alleviate the pain, much like it helps with a sore muscle. However, whiplash can be mistaken for other conditions. If the pain does not go away on its own, it’s important to turn to your doctor.
Additional Symptoms of Whiplash That Develop Over Time
Some people experience more significant levels of pain and discomfort after a car accident. For example, the movement of your neck may be significantly more if the vehicle was traveling at a higher rate of speed when it struck your car. In this type of injury, there can be a higher risk for traumatic brain injury or damage to your spinal column. As a result, you should seek out immediate care if you have any noticeable injury from the incident.
In the days following your accident, you may notice additional symptoms of whiplash from rear end collisions. They may include:
- Significant neck pain and stiffness
- A loss of range of motion – it hurts to move your head from side-to-side
- Pain seems to worsen if you move your head
- Tenderness in the upper back, shoulders or arms
- Dizziness or trouble balancing
- Tingling or a numb feeling in the shoulder, arm or hand
Most of the time, your doctor can offer treatment for your pain. Allowing your body to heal may be all that is necessary. In other cases though, you may need additional care.
Long Term Impact in Severe Cases
Some people develop more intense long term physical changes as the result of a car accident. Though not as common, it is possible to suffer pain, limited range of motion, and a variety of health consequences due to an accident like this. These losses may include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ringing in the ears
- Memory problems
- Problems with concentration
If you notice these symptoms, it is critical for you to work closely with a doctor to determine the underlying cause. You may need more invasive treatment to handle damage to your spinal column or nerves.
Complications from Whiplash
Most people do not suffer any long term consequences from whiplash. However, in severe cases, it can happen. This may include pain that fails to improve over time. It may include a loss of range of motion. Some people suffer from unexplained headaches afterwards. Lower back pain, neck pain and arm pain may also linger. This type of pain can last for months or years after the accident.
How Can Personal Injury Attorneys Help After Whiplash?
One of the most important things to know about whiplash is that you can get financial support for the care you need. If you suffer damage from a seat belt, whiplash, or experience other physical injuries as the result of another person’s actions, you may be able to get financial compensation for those losses. This includes:
- Your initial emergency room visit
- Diagnosis and treatment of whiplash in the days that follow the accident from your doctor or an emergency room
- Any inpatient stay that you have at the hospital
- Physical therapy costs for improving your range of motion
- Coverage for chiropractic care that can help with improved pain reduction
- Long-term rehab or other needs you may have
- Payment for lost time at work due to the accident, treatment for it or even legal matters related to it
When you exhibit symptoms of whiplash, it is critical that you get medical help immediately. Do not put off seeing a medical professional. Be sure to let your attorney know what steps you have taken to secure the care you need. Inform your attorney about any passenger in the car who also suffered whiplash.
Our Team at Petersen Johnson Can Help After a Rear End Collision
Don’t settle your case with your insurance company or the responsible driver’s insurance company. Instead, allow our team to take a closer look at what type of financial compensation applies to your case. Call Petersen Johnson for the help you need. For a free consultation with our knowledgeable car accident attorneys, contact us online or call us at 602-285-6100 today.