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What are the symptoms of whiplash after a car accident?

It can happen in a split-second. One minute you are patiently waiting at a stop sign or red light when suddenly, "Bam!" another car crashes into the rear end of yours. Unfortunately, rear-end collisions are relatively common in Houma and nationwide. However, this doesn't mean the victims of rear-end collisions will not suffer serious injuries in the crash, including whiplash.

Whiplash is also referred to as a neck strain or sprain. It occurs when a person's head suddenly jerks back and forth, as it might in a car crash. Such an injury can damage various parts of a person's neck, including the intervertebral joints, discs, nerves, muscles and ligaments.

However, car accident victims should be aware that symptoms of whiplash may not manifest themselves immediately following the crash. Sometimes it could take days for such injuries to become apparent. Some symptoms of whiplash include: headaches; pain and stiffness in the neck; shoulder and back pain; pain or a loss of feeling on the arm or hand; tiredness; difficulty sleeping; irritability; difficulty in remembering or focusing on something; and dizziness.

To diagnose whiplash, it may be necessary to get an MRI or CT scan, as whiplash is not visible in an X-ray. There is no one way to treat whiplash. Victims of whiplash will be given pain medication and may need physical therapy, injections and ultrasounds. It used to be the norm to give a whiplash victim a neck brace to wear, but these days it is more common to have the victim move his or her neck gently rather than immobilizing it.

In the end, it can take a while to recover from whiplash and, depending on the severity of the injury, it could be expensive as well. Therefore, those who have suffered whiplash in an accident caused by another person may want to explore their options for compensation.

Source: WebMD, "Whiplash," accessed Jan. 21, 2018

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