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What exactly is a whiplash injury?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2018 | Car Accidents |

If you become an Arkansas car crash victim, particularly if another motorist rear-ends your car, you risk receiving a whiplash injury. explains that a whiplash occurs when your head and neck jerk back and forth as a result of the impact of the other car hitting you. This violent motion puts substantial strain on your cervical spine.

While you can often recover from a whiplash injury, also known as cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome or CAD, within three months of your accident, it also could cause you long-term or even lifetime discomfort including the following:

  • Pain in your neck, ranging from mild to excruciating
  • Stiffness in your neck
  • Reduced range of motion of your neck and head
  • Pain in your shoulders and/or upper back
  • Severe persistent headaches
  • Tingling, weakness or numbness in your shoulders or arms

These symptoms could appear immediately after your accident, but they also could appear as late as 24 hours later. Once they appear, they often worsen over time.

Whiplash diagnosis

Your physician may have a difficult time diagnosing your specific whiplash injury. Why? Because you may suffer from a fractured bone, a slipped disc and/or nerve damage. Expect him or her to do the following:

  • Obtain a complete medical history from you
  • Perform a comprehensive physical examination, particularly noting the condition of your head, neck and back and how well and to what extent you can move them
  • Take an x-ray
  • Order a CT scan
  • Order an MRI

Whiplash treatment

If your whiplash injury is a minor one, you may be able to recover from it through rest, using ice packs and/or heating pads, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Wearing a cervical collar could also help. If you continue to experience pain, however, you may require physical therapy, acupuncture, manual neck and spine manipulation by a chiropractor, massage therapy, and/or prescription medications.

While this is educational information and not legal advice, it can help you understand whiplash injuries and what to expect if you sustain one.