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5 signs you may have suffered from whiplash and what to do next

woman massaging her sore neck

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Whiplash is a common injury in road traffic accidents. The sudden and extreme force of a crash can cause drivers and passengers to experience pain or loss of movement in the neck. During an accident, the ligaments in your neck can be stretched past their limits and this causes whiplash.

If you’ve suffered an ankle sprain before, whiplash is like having a neck sprain.

As whiplash is a common injury for road traffic victims, it’s important to determine if you’ve got whiplash. Whiplash can be painful and can result in you having to take time off work. If you have whiplash, then you need to visit your doctor so you don’t have to suffer needlessly. In most cases, whiplash will recover by itself. Try to take it easy and avoid putting your neck under any additional stress.

Here are the signs you may have suffered from whiplash:

1. Feeling neck pain after the accident

It is a common misconception that whiplash is felt immediately after a crash. In fact, most people don’t feel any neck pain or tenderness until at least six hours after the accident. Adrenaline and shock of the accident can conceal any pain. Inflammation and bruising will also normally take some time to develop.


2. Increasing neck stiffness

After the injury, and days after, whiplash can cause increasing neck stiffness. Moving the neck can be extremely uncomfortable. Usually any stiffness will slowly disappear as your muscles recover from the accident.


3. Headaches or dizziness

Whiplash can cause headaches and dizziness after the accident. If you’ve suffered any headaches or dizziness following your accident, you should make a note of when they occur. It’s possible to get these symptoms after suffering a stressful experience like an accident. If you have a headache, but you’ve got no other whiplash symptoms, like soreness or stiffness in the neck, it might not be whiplash.  


4. Back pain

Along with neck pain, whiplash can cause lower back pain. During a car crash, your seat belt is designed to help minimise any damage caused by the force of the collision. However, whiplash can cause pain in the neck and the back. Bending over or picking up heavy items can cause discomfort.


5. Pins and needles in your arms

Whilst this is a less common symptom of whiplash, it is possible to feel a ‘pins and needles’ sensation in your arms and hands. The problem with whiplash is that the pain is caused from internal muscle strain and inflammation, so doctors cannot always see the extent of the damage. In most cases, the feeling of pins and needles will disappear as your muscles recover. If you have any concerns, visit your doctor.


How long does whiplash last?

Whiplash is not usually a long term condition, the strained muscles will normally recover by themselves and you will likely have a quick recovery after a couple of weeks.

In rare cases, long-term whiplash can last longer than six months. If you think you’ve been suffering from neck pain for over a few weeks, than you should see your doctor. In most cases, trying to keep your neck mobile and taking painkillers are recommended for whiplash but see your doctor first to see which treatment is best for you.


What to do if I have whiplash?

If you think you’re suffering from whiplash then there are some things you should do:


Visit your doctor

Usually whiplash will recover after a couple of weeks so you don’t need to see your doctor. Taking it easy, avoiding any additional neck strain and taking painkillers for pain relief can help you recover from all symptoms of whiplash.

However, if you’re suffering extreme pain or it’s affecting your daily life then you should visit your doctor.

You will need medical proof to show you have whiplash to take your compensation case forward.


Don’t drive

As whiplash can cause neck stiffness, it can limit how much you can move your neck. This can be dangerous when driving a vehicle because you are limiting how much you can see. Avoid driving until your neck has healed.


See if you can make a compensation claim

When you’ve suffered a car accident that was not your fault, it’s unfair you have to suffer painful injuries like whiplash.

Having whiplash can cause extreme pain and can mean you have to take time off work or find alternative transport to get to work because you cannot drive. You may be able to claim compensation for whiplash and your accident.

Our personal injury lawyers at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, have worked on many road traffic accident cases. We have helped people reclaim loss of earnings and whiplash compensation. Contact us to see if you can make a claim.

car accident claim document

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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