Whiplash: A lasting neck injury with consequences

When you're involved in an accident, any part of your body can be injured. One of the most common injuries, especially in a rear-end collision, is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when your head is thrown forward quickly and then whips back into its original position, thus the name, "whiplash."

When the head is whipped in any direction, it puts pressure on the spine. It can result in muscle and ligament damage, and you could even end up with a disc problem in your neck in severe cases.

What kind of prognosis is there for whiplash?

Whiplash is usually not a life-long condition, but severe instances can cause symptoms for long periods of time. Treatment is vital to eliminating pain and injury. If tendons or ligaments have torn, then it's possible that surgery could be required.

For most people, whiplash resolves in a few weeks to a few months. With therapy, neck pain, headaches and other symptoms can be addressed while you heal.

What should you do after a car crash if you suspect whiplash?

Regardless of the injuries you believe you have, it's important to seek medical attention immediately after a collision. Medical providers can take tests to diagnose the conditions you may now have.

The problem with whiplash is that you may not know you have it right away. Adrenaline released during a crash impacts you by reducing pain and putting you into fight or flight mode. Unfortunately, that also means you may not know you have whiplash until the next day or a few days later. For this reason, you should always seek medical attention immediately following a crash.

Whiplash doesn't have to impact you forever in most instances, especially if you are proactive. With good support, time to recover and physical therapy, it is possible to reduce your symptoms.

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