Whiplash and Neck Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
When a sudden jolt from a car accident causes a jerking, abrupt back and forth motion of the head, whiplash is common, and is an extremely painful type of injury. Whiplash, also called neck sprain or neck strain, is defined by WebMD as injury to the neck. This type of injury is common in rear-end collisions and other collisions.
Neck injuries from motor vehicle accidents can range in severity from mild to severe. Even less severe neck injuries can have long-term negative effects on the lives of victims. Common neck injuries resulting from car crashes include the following:
- Neck sprain occurs when the ligaments in the neck are torn or stretched.
- Neck strain occurs when the muscles of the neck are strained or torn.
(Neck strain and neck sprain are also referred to as “hyperflexion-hyperextension injuries” and are more commonly called “whiplash.”)
- Cervical Radiculopathy is a pinched nerve in the neck, causing weakness in the muscles, numbness, and pain.
- Herniated Disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, can occur when too much pressure is put on a disc through neck motion, resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness.
Symptoms of Neck Injuries
The painful and debilitating symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after an accident. Symptoms of neck injury may include:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Muscle spasms in the neck
- Shoulder pain or pain between the shoulder blades
- Pain or numbness in the arms, hands, or both
- Slower reflexes in the arms and hands
- Pain in the lower back
- Trouble concentrating or remembering things
- Sleep disturbances
Diagnosis and Treatment of Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Soft tissue injuries, such as injuries to muscles, ligaments, and discs, cannot be seen on X-rays, and CT scans or MRI may be required to diagnose a case of whiplash. An MRI is also the method of choice for diagnosing herniated discs, while electromyography (EMG) testing may help in diagnosing cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve).
No single treatment has been scientifically proven to be effective for whiplash, although gentle exercise, physical therapy, traction, heat, ice, massage, injections, ultrasound, and pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen have all been proven to be helpful for some patients.
Most people suffering from a pinched nerve or herniated disc do not require surgery and respond to non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medications, epidural spinal injections, or chiropractic treatment, but the process can be slow and extremely painful. It is often impossible to tend to daily tasks, and motion can be severely limited during the healing process.
Legal Help for Auto Accident Neck Injury Victims
Our experienced car accident attorneys at Avrek Law Firm help people who have been injured in car accidents pursue compensation for their losses. We have recovered tens of millions for our clients in personal injury cases. Our lawyers have met the criteria for membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum® and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, an elite group of the top producing personal injury lawyers. Once we accept your case, you can rely on our firm to fight tirelessly on your behalf.
- WebMD: Pain Management Health Center: Whiplash
- Back.com: Back Pain
- Mayo Clinic: Electromyography (EMG)