Whiplash Injury Facts: The Long-Term Effects

Content Reviewer, Attorney James P. Maniscalco
Created by our team of legal writers and reviewed by James P. Maniscalco. J.D.

Whiplash is a common injury resulting from a car accident, truck accident or any other type of accident where the head is rapidly and abruptly “whipped” forwards and backwards.

The most common type of car accident is an impact in the rear. Typically, the vehicle that gets “rear-ended,” or impacted in the rear, is at the greatest risk of experiencing a whiplash injury.  

Contrary to popular belief, a whiplash injury is not trivial. In its early stages, whiplash can cause pain in the neck, shoulders, head and base of the skull. Other symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, sleep problems, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and poor concentration and memory. Most people recover from whiplash symptoms in a few weeks to a few months. However, about 15-20 percent of people develop chronic pain.

Whiplash Injury Treatments

The causes of whiplash pain may be related to sore and inflamed muscles, and strained discs and ligaments. This pain will not go away by itself; regular medical treatment is required.

Treatment typically involves X-rays and, possibly, an MRI for a diagnosis, followed by regular physical therapy – strengthening exercises, body mechanics – and, sometimes, spinal injections. In some cases, surgery is required.

Whiplash victims receiving treatment early on have a significantly better chance of fully recovering. Without proper treatment, whiplash victims can continue experiencing muscle pain, joint pain, chronic headaches and more for years following an accident.

But getting the right treatment can be a problem, and paying for the right medical care can be expensive.

A personal injury lawyer can be a tremendous help. Experienced whiplash injury lawyers can refer you to their network of medical specialists to ensure that you get the care you need. A lawyer can also help you get compensation to cover your medical bills, time off work, rehabilitation therapy, emotional distress and more.


Sources: 

What is Whiplash?” Spine-health: Trusted Information for Back Pain. Retrieved August 5, 2015.

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