The Short and Long-Term Effects of Whiplash

What Is Whiplash?

Accidents are terrifying and can result in unwanted consequences. Hurting your neck, for example, can be one of the unforeseen outcomes of an accident such as a car crash. Whiplash is a neck injury that results from forceful, swift back-and-forth movement of the neck. This type of neck injury can result from many different types of accidents, including in athletes who practice extreme activities that require fast motion.

Most cases of whiplash are caused by car accidents, especially when a car changes speed spontaneously. However, whiplash can also result from sports accidents, physical abuse, falling, or even fun activities such as rollercoasters. Most people who experience whiplash can feel better within a few weeks, after following a dedicated treatment plan. However, some people who have whiplash can end up with chronic neck pain and other long-term complications, so it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as you can following an accident.

What Are The Short-Term Symptoms Of Whiplash?

Depending on the severity of the accident, people with whiplash can experience different symptoms. The stronger the impact, the more severe and longer-lasting the symptoms of the accident can be. Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually develop within days of the injury, and short-term symptoms can include the following:

  • Neck pain and stiffness

  • Worsening pain with neck movement

  • Loss of range of motion in the neck

  • Headaches

  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back, or arms

  • Tingling or numbness in the arms

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability 

  • Dizziness

What Are The Potential Long-Term Effects Of Whiplash?

Many cases of whiplash can be successfully treated and long-term symptoms can be avoided. However, some people experience chronic pain for several months or even years after the injury occurs. Chronic symptoms that can potentially result from cases of whiplash include:

  • Blurred vision

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Reduced range of body mobility

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Memory problems

Anyone experiencing these serious symptoms of whiplash days after their accident should seek medical attention immediately if they haven’t already.

Who Is Vulnerable To The Long-Term Effects Of Whiplash? 

You may be more likely to have chronic or long-term pain from whiplash if you experienced severe neck pain, minimized motion range, and pain that extended to your arms. People who belong to the following demographics are more likely to be at risk of long-term effects of whiplash following an accident:

  • People that are older

  • People who already had a preexisting chronic lower back or neck pain

  • People who have experienced a high-speed injury

For anyone in these demographics, it is especially important that you seek medical attention for your injury as soon as you can to avoid complications or chronic symptoms. 

How Is Whiplash Treated?

Depending on the severity of the neck injury, most cases of whiplash do not result in long-term effects that require surgery. Treatment for whiplash can be a combination of spinal braces, physical therapy, and medication. During physical therapy, you can expect to gradually improve and restore the mobility of your neck progressively. In the event that the accident resulted in significant trauma to the spine, such as a fracture or injury to the cervical spine, surgery can be a solution. No matter how mild or severe your symptoms are, it is best to speak to a medical professional for an assessment and expert treatment plan.

To determine the right treatment for you, speak with your doctor. Comprehensive Spine Care in New Jersey offers treatment to patients at four different locations in Westwood, Clifton, Bridgewater, and Brunswick so relief is never too far away. Call 201-634-1811 to schedule your consultation today.

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