What exactly is whiplash?

After being involved in a car accident, drivers and passengers alike may experience whiplash. Knowing what to look for is important.

Whiplash is a condition that most people in Connecticut may have heard of. However, not everyone fully understand what exactly whiplash is. In fact, it may sometimes not be taken seriously enough or may not even be properly identified. This can lead to improper or even lack of treatment for people who may benefit from it. What is whiplash, how can it happen, and what can be done about it?

Whiplash basics

According to WebMD, whiplash occurs when the tendons or muscles in the neck area are strained. Sometimes, people confuse this with a sprain, which is different. A strain occurs when tendons or muscles are torn or stretched. A sprain happens when ligaments are torn or stretched.

People affected by whiplash can exhibit a variety of symptoms. KnowYourBack.org explains that the following may be indicators of a whiplash injury:

• Low back pain

• Referred arm pain

• Cognitive or memory problems

• Ringing in ears

• Blurred vision

• Irritability or even depression

Other symptoms of whiplash include headache and knots in muscles. Not all symptoms appear immediately after an injury occurs, but rather may develop over the course of a few days.

Causes of whiplash

Whiplash can be caused by different things but is frequently associated with vehicle accidents. Drivers who have been hit from behind face a greater risk of experiencing whiplash, due to the force with which the neck is jolted forward and back again. This motion can lead to strain in the neck region.

Caring for a whiplash injury

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains that the treatment for whiplash can vary from person to person. Anti-inflammatory medications may be needed and in some cases, people may be prescribed drugs that alleviate pain or depression, as well as help the muscles relax.

Neck braces or collars can be useful to reduce movement of the neck as the region heals. These things may be worn for a few days or even a few weeks. Visits to a physical therapist may provide additional support and help increase the range of motion through the neck.

Seeking compensation for an injury

The length of time that it takes a person to fully recover from a whiplash injury is very individual. No matter the extent of an injury, a victim has the right to seek appropriate compensation from the responsible party.

Because working directly with other drivers or insurance companies can be difficult, Connecticut residents are encouraged to contact an experienced injury attorney for help in pursuing compensation.