Understanding whiplash injuries

Understanding whiplash injuries

If you become involved in a New Jersey motor vehicle accident, you could sustain serious painful injuries. Should the vehicle behind you rear end you, you will almost surely suffer a whiplash injury.

This type of injury results from your head and neck violently jerking forward and backward due to the crash impact. Unfortunately, this jerking damages the nerves and tissues in your neck. Whiplash injuries most commonly cause you to exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Severe neck pain
  • Severe shoulder and/or upper back pain
  • Neck stiffness, often severe
  • Substantial head and neck range of motion decrease
  • Chronic severe headaches
  • Tingling, numbness and weakness in your shoulders and arms

Whiplash diagnosis

Because a whiplash injury is one to your soft tissues, your doctor may well have a difficult time diagnosing the precise injury or injuries you sustained in your vehicle crash. Most physicians, therefore, assess a whiplash injury by means of the following:

  • Performing an extensive physical examination
  • Obtaining your detailed medical history
  • Getting x-rays of your back and neck
  • Ordering an MRI and/or CT scan

Whiplash treatment

Be prepared for your doctor to recommend your usage of over-the-counter pain medications rather than prescription ones. If you can manage your pain on OTC medication, this is far preferable to taking prescription meds to which you could quickly become addicted.

Your doctor may also suggest you wear a cervical collar for a few days or weeks to minimize your head movement and consequently guard against your neck tissues receiving any further damage. (S)he may further suggest that you visit a chiropractor or acupuncturist. Both kinds of treatment often relieve, or at least reduce, the lingering pain of a whiplash injury. If your pain persists, however, or your range of motion fails to increase, you may require surgery.