What does Whiplash Mean?

Trusted Content

Legally reviewed by:

Erik Abrahamson, J.D. March 27, 2019

Understanding Whiplash Injuries

Commonly associated with car accidents, a whiplash injury is a neck injury that occurs when the head suddenly moves backward and then forward. These types of injuries most often occur in rear-end collisions.

Whiplash injuries can be difficult to diagnose, and symptoms may not appear until days after a car accident.

what does whiplash mean

That’s why it’s important to seek medical treatment after an accident regardless of whether you feel pain right away. Whiplash can have long term consequences if it is not properly treated.

Symptoms of a Whiplash Injury

Whiplash involves an intense extension and flexing of the neck. The injury occurs when structures in your neck such as discs, ligaments, nerves, and muscles become damaged. The neck is particularly vulnerable to this type of injury because of its ability to move in many directions. 

You may feel the signs of whiplash immediately after an accident, or they may not appear for several days. Common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain 
  • Upper back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Dizziness 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased range of motion in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Hoarseness
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Memory disturbances

Treatment of a Whiplash Injury

Occasionally whiplash may heal within several days, however, the symptoms can last for months or even years. In some cases, whiplash can be a permanent injury. Your doctor may prescribe painkillers and muscle relaxants to help ease the pain.

Starting physical therapy can help with regaining range of motion in the neck. Physical therapy should focus on stretching, rotating, and moving the neck back and forth. In severe cases of whiplash, other treatments might be necessary. The use of injections and pain blockers can help with more severe whiplash symptoms.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve sustained a whiplash injury, you should have an experienced personal injury lawyer evaluate your case. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been helping the injured for over 30 years. Contact us online today or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation.

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