Whiplash is the term used to describe a soft-tissue neck injury that occurs when a sudden impact pushes the head back and forth in a rapid, violent motion. This causes the neck to stretch, or ‘hyperextend’, thereby damaging the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons. Such an injury will lead to a series of symptoms that together constitute a whiplash injury.
In this article we explore the symptoms of whiplash in greater detail, helping you to understand whether or not you have suffered a whiplash injury.
Early symptoms of whiplash
Whiplash is an injury commonly sustained during a road traffic accident. In the overwhelming majority of cases this will happen when a vehicle is shunted by another, causing the driver and his passengers to have their heads thrown backwards and forwards. This whipping action will lead to varying degrees of damage, with the severity of injury depending upon the force of impact, the age of the victims and whether or not they have any underlying health conditions.
Nevertheless, an incident such as a rear-end shunt will inevitably cause those involved to suffer the symptoms associated with whiplash. These may not be immediately apparent after the accident, as it takes some time for the adrenaline to wear off and for the injury to materialize.
When it does, you will begin to experience symptoms such as:-
-A stiff and painful neck; -Shoulder and back pain; -Headaches; -Dizziness; -Tiredness.
Often these symptoms will get increasingly worse in the days after the accident. Those with an extensive injury may also suffer:-
-Visual disturbances; -Pins and needles in the hands; -Memory loss; -Poor concentration; -Weakness in the arms.
Symptoms of chronic whiplash
If your physical symptoms continue for six months or more, you will be diagnosed with chronic whiplash (as opposed to acute whiplash). This can cause certain emotional or psychological symptoms, including:-
-Depression; -Anger and frustration; -Anxiety; -Insomnia; -Social seclusion.
What to do if you have whiplash symptoms
If you are presenting the symptoms of whiplash and you have been involved in an accident recently, you should contact a doctor for advice. You may either choose to make an appointment with your GP or, if your symptoms are severe, attend your nearest Accident and Emergency department. Seeking medical intervention will ensure that you do not have any underlying injuries that need attention, and will also guarantee that you are given an appropriate course of treatment.
Once your injuries have been assessed by a medical professional, you may also want to consider whether someone else was responsible for your accident. For example, did another driver hit the back of your vehicle, causing you to suffer whiplash? If so, you should speak to a solicitor, as you will be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced.
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