Whiplash is a common injury sustained in auto accidents. According to research, it affects 83 percent of individuals involved in car collisions and is a common cause of disability. The economic burden of whiplash is $3.9 billion annually in the U.S., and if litigation is included, the numbers are closer to $30 billion.
Even though whiplash is a common injury, the complexities and lasting implications of this condition are often underestimated. Many people end up feeling judged and isolated, when in reality, their symptoms are significantly impacting their well-being and quality of life.
Let’s learn more about the long-term consequences of whiplash and how our whiplash injury attorneys can help you pay for treatment after an accident.
What is Whiplash? How Does it Happen?
Whiplash occurs when the neck and head are forcefully jerked backward and forward, causing rapid, uncontrolled motions. This abrupt movement can damage soft tissues, ligaments, muscles and discs in the back. Whiplash is most commonly caused by car accidents, but it can also happen from sports, physical abuse and other types of trauma.
Most people with whiplash feel better in a few weeks after following their treatment plan, which typically includes medication and exercises. However, there is the potential for long-lasting neck pain and complications. You are at a greater risk for long-term symptoms if you are of older age, sustained a high-speed injury or have had whiplash before.
Short-Term Effects of Whiplash
Neck pain is typically the first symptom that occurs immediately after the injury. However, some people don’t feel any symptoms until several hours, days or weeks later. This is why it’s always important to take the appropriate steps when involved in a car accident.
The short-term symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Loss of range of motion in neck
- Trouble sleeping
- Tingling or numbness in arms
- Blurred vision
- Ringing ears
Long-Term Impact of Whiplash
Whiplash-related chronic pain can persist for months or years, impacting your ability to perform daily activities and leading to a decreased quality of life. In severe cases, it can result in long-term disability.
The long-term effects of whiplash may include:
- Chronic pain and disability
While most people heal from whiplash in 4-6 weeks, it’s possible to suffer from whiplash-related chronic pain for months or years. This can take a toll on your mental and physical health, affect your ability to perform daily activities and lead to a decreased quality of life.
- Cognitive and emotional effects
Whiplash can contribute to cognitive impairments such as concentration difficulties, memory issues and emotional disturbances like anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not only are the symptoms a constant reminder of the accident, but also it’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude when you’re in pain and not sleeping well.
- Financial burden
The long-term consequences of whiplash can result in substantial financial strain due to ongoing medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and potential legal expenses. Many people also have to take time off work because of their injuries. A desk job may not require as much time off, but construction, heavy lifting or operating machinery require longer leaves of absence.
- Impact on relationships and daily life
Chronic pain and emotional distress can strain relationships and negatively impact your social interactions, leading to isolation. Not getting enough social interaction can affect your overall well-being, especially if you are older and out of work.
Treatment and Management for Long-Term Whiplash
Seeking prompt medical attention after an accident, even for seemingly minor injuries, is crucial. Rember, the symptoms of whiplash don’t always appear right away. Early intervention and comprehensive care can prevent the progression of symptoms and mitigate long-term effects.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation programs help in strengthening muscles, improving mobility and managing pain. This not only addresses short-term symptoms, but also helps in supporting long-term recovery. Finally, pain management techniques, such as medication, injections or alternative therapies, coupled with emotional support, counseling or support groups, can also help with healing.
Whiplash Injury Attorneys in Florida
Whiplash, often dismissed as a minor injury, can have enduring consequences that extend well beyond the initial accident. Understanding the long-term implications of whiplash is crucial in seeking appropriate medical care, advocating for comprehensive treatment and managing the physical, emotional and financial toll it can take.
If you were recently involved in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Ron Sholes for a free case evaluation. We know how severe and persistent the symptoms of whiplash can be, and we are here to fight for maximum compensation to cover your medical bills, missed work and emotional suffering.