Whiplash occurs when a sudden force (from acceleration or deceleration) is applied to the occupant of the car, causing the head to jar forwards and backwards in a rapid motion. It is common when one vehicle slams into the rear of another vehicle, either when it is parked, moving slower than the vehicle behind, or while applying the brakes. Whiplash costs the U.S. approximately $30 billion in damages every year, according to Medicinenet.com.
Soft tissue damage sometimes takes much longer to heal than fractured bones, even though there is significantly more blood flow to soft tissue. And the pain associated with a bad case of whiplash can range from mild to excruciating, keep the victim bed-bound and out of work for days or weeks. The pain may not be present at the scene of the crash or even later that day. It can take hours or days for the full pain of whiplash to settle in. According to WebMD, the following are symptoms of whiplash:
- Neck pain, tenderness, tightness, or hard, heavily knotted neck muscles;
- Decreased range of motion in the neck;
- Pain when moving or rocking the head from side to side or front to back; and
- Headaches originating at the base of the skull that throb outwards to the forehead.
On top of whiplash caused in a car accident, the victim may have suffered from a brain injury as well. Even if the victim did not hit their head against anything, a severe jarring of the brain can result in a traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion. When the brain is violently jarred against the base of the skull without any external impact, it is called internal loading. An example of this is shaken baby syndrome. If someone has suffered a severe case of whiplash, they may also have had a traumatic brain injury through internal loading. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include sleepiness, confusion, loss of memory, inability to recall well-known facts such as names or dates, headache, unconsciousness, and nausea. A traumatic brain injury can be much more life-threatening than whiplash, and if a car crash victim suspects there is any chance of traumatic brain injury, they should seek medical attention immediately.
Treating Whiplash in Victims of Car Accidents in Georgia
There are not a whole lot of medical options for treating whiplash other than rest. However, it will likely heal on its own if given proper treatment and time. Patients with whiplash should do the following:
- Use ice to reduce swelling within the first couple days. Ice should be applied for 20-30 minutes and not directly against the skin.
- The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen will further help reduce the swelling and pain.
- A neck brace or collar will help stabilize the neck and offer support so that it can heal properly without being subjected to more micro trauma. Long term use is not recommended because neck braces eventually weaken the muscles in the neck.
- Apply heat to the neck after two to three days of icing to increase blood flow and the speed of healing.
- Ultrasound and massage may decrease pain and speed healing time.
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Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident in Georgia?
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe case of whiplash from a car accident that was no fault of your own, you may be able to recover damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage. Contact the Law Offices of Roger Ghai, P.C. at 770-792-1000 today to discuss your legal options.
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