What you should know about car accidents and whiplash

Whiplash is a very common injury for people involved in traffic accidents. Unfortunately it is also an injury that goes unnoticed or untreated and that can lead to longer term and chronic medical issues. The violent and sudden forward and back movement of the head damages the neck’s intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments, and cervical muscles.

The tricky part about whiplash is its symptoms can be and are often delayed for a day or more after an accident and by that time the injury may become aggravated or develop further complications. In that regard, it is critical to be aware of how to address whiplash from medical and legal standpoints. Treatment, of course, is your top priority. You cannot assume you’re injury-free just because you feel okay immediately after the accident. You also need to ensure an adequate financial situation to avoid debilitating medical bills.  

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Steps to Take For Treating Whiplash

Always take whiplash seriously and treat it as a condition that requires a doctor’s attention. You may feel very little pain or even none at all, even with significant whiplash injury, but don’t gloss it over. In the midst of an accident, your body is filled with a rush of adrenaline and cortisol that helps prevent pain and improves your reactions in an emergency situation. But when these hormones wear off, the reality of the pain sets in.

Swelling with the injury will likely occur in the first 24 hours following an accident. Swelling is a natural protective response but it also inspires stiffness. Muscle and ligament damage is also common with whiplash and left untreated, everyday activity will make it a worse and potentially debilitating condition. If you experience any pain in the neck, back, or head; your best strategy is to seek immediate medical treatment.

Self-Care Tips for Whiplash

Heed your doctor’s advice and remain diligent with home care regimes including icing the injury, taking ibuprofen to help with pain and swelling, support your neck while sleeping and avoid strenuous physical activity that can impact the injury.

Gentle exercise to strengthen and heal the injury is also recommended. Full immobilization should only be done in short increments as it has the potential to prevent efficient healing.

Act fast after an accident. Contact an attorney within one week to lock in legal advice prior to insurance claims processes. Always prioritize legal before insurance and remember that whiplash injuries may require long-term care.

For more information about whiplash from car accidents, contact the team at Veeva Chiropractic Clinic at (503) 782-6108.