Misconceptions Surrounding Whiplash Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents
Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions regarding whiplash injuries that can significantly impact the way others react to your accident injury. While a whiplash injury can occur in a variety of ways, drivers who are rear-ended are the most likely to suffer a whiplash injury; misconceptions regarding these whiplash injuries include:
- If the car is not damaged, then the person inside is just fine. In fact, a whiplash injury can occur at very low speeds—speeds that will not damage the car but could cause a serious whiplash injury. Generally speaking, the risk factor for whiplash damage increases at higher speeds, but it is important to remember that tissues in the neck are far more sensitive than the exterior of a car.
- If you feel no immediate pain, then you do not have whiplash. This is another myth that could not be further from the truth; whiplash injuries can present days or even weeks following a car accident. In fact, the jolt of adrenaline you receive from a car accident can mask many different injuries, including whiplash.
- If an x-ray doesn’t show whiplash, then no whiplash exists. Again, this is unequivocally not true. An x-ray cannot show soft tissue injuries—although an x-ray may be used to rule out a spinal cord injury. A doctor may determine whiplash through a physical exam, CT scans, or an MRI.
- Once the initial pain has subsided, there is no long–term impact from the whiplash injury. Unfortunately, victims of whiplash can suffer ongoing bouts of dizziness, ringing in the ears that come and go, chronic pain in the neck and shoulders, and, for older victims of whiplash, mobility issues can occur due to whiplash-related vertigo.
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The Prevalence of Whiplash Injuries Associated with Car Accidents
According to chirocareflorida.com, while most whiplash injuries are the result of a car accident, falling from a horse or bicycle, or other types of contact sports injuries could also result in a whiplash injury. One study found that a full 7 percent of whiplash victims were unable to ever return to work and that the average time off work following a whiplash injury was almost 8 weeks.
While the self-employed tended to return to work much quicker, this group was also the least likely to fully recover from the whiplash injuries. There are more than three million new cases of whiplash each year in the United States, with half of those suffering some degree of chronic pain or another chronic symptom. Because women typically have smaller necks, whiplash injuries are almost five times as common in women than in men. Pre-existing conditions such as arthritis will usually result in a more severe injury.
Three-quarters of whiplash victims will have symptoms that last six months or longer, and more than 60 percent of those with whiplash injuries will require long-term medical care. Perhaps the most dismaying statistic is that more than half of all those who have sustained a whiplash injury will still have chronic pain two decades after the original injury.
Understanding Whiplash Injuries
Any impact or blow that causes the head to suddenly jerk forward or backward can cause neck strain, with the force stretching and tearing muscles and tendons in the neck. Symptoms of whiplash can include the following:
- Neck tenderness
- Neck tightness
- Decreased range of motion in the neck
- Neck muscles that feel hard or knotted
- Pain that occurs when you move your head from side to side, or backward and forward
- Pain when turning to look over your shoulder
- Headaches that start at the base of the skull and radiate toward the forehead
Whiplash caused by a blow can also result in a concussion, or a more serious traumatic brain injury. You should always see a doctor following an accident, even if you think you are fine. If you have a headache that persists or worsens, you have difficulty talking, you are confused, dizzy, nauseous, or excessively sleepy, seek medical treatment immediately.
How a Doctor Can Help Those with Whiplash Injuries
Your exact treatment for whiplash will depend on the severity of your injury, but your doctor may prescribe:
- Using ice on your neck immediately after your injury, as often as every 3-4 hours for 15 minutes for 2-4 days
- Taking painkillers such as Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin, or, for more severe pain, prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants
- Using a neck brace or neck collar to support your neck (most doctors will not recommend the long-term use of a neck brace as it could actually weaken the neck muscles
- Applying moist heat to your neck after 2-3 days of icing it first
- Ultrasound, massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic care
How an Experienced Denver Whiplash Injury Attorney Can Help
Perhaps even more so than other injuries, your whiplash injury could greatly benefit from having an experienced Colorado whiplash attorney by your side. Your attorney will have a deep understanding of the misconceptions surrounding whiplash injuries and will know the most effective way to negotiate a fair settlement or argue your case in court.
Denver whiplash attorney Dianne Sawaya understands what you are going through—and knows the way to help you get through the pain, medical expenses, and even an inability to return to work, therefore, an inability to pay your normal monthly expenses. Attorney Dianne Sawaya recognizes you have experienced a life-altering accident and will fight hard on your behalf to secure the compensation and assistance you and your family deserve.
Dianne Sawaya was born and raised in Denver, therefore, has a special connection with Denver residents who need help following an accident. Dianne has a particularly deep understanding of injuries, thanks to pre-medicine undergraduate studies. Attorney Dianne Sawaya has practiced law for more than three decades, with twenty years devoted to achieving equitable personal injury settlements for Denver accident victims. If you have suffered a whiplash injury—or any other type of injury—because of the negligence of another driver, Dianne wants to help you get through this difficult time. Contact the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya today for strong legal assistance, compassion, and help in getting you the treatments you need.