Three of the most common car accident injuries are whiplash, headache, and soft tissue injury. In this article we'll take a closer look at each of these injuries, and offer some basic tips on getting medical treatment after a car accident.
Whiplash is not a formal medical term. It is a lay term for an injury to the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) of the neck, although whiplash can also include injuries to the joints between the neck vertebrae, the disks in the neck, and the roots of the nerves that branch out of the spinal cord.
Whiplash is caused by the sudden deceleration of a car in an accident. This sudden deceleration causes a person’s head to bob back and forth. The medical definition of what happens to the person’s neck is that it has a sudden extension and flexion.
Because the definition of whiplash can cover many different types of injury, whiplash can have many different symptoms. In general, whiplash symptoms include neck or upper back pain or stiffness, shoulder pain or stiffness, headache, dizziness, or a burning or itching sensation in the neck, shoulders, or arms. If the car accident was severe, whiplash can also cause memory loss, difficulty in concentration, sleep disturbances, fatigue, or depression.
Symptoms of whiplash often develop immediately after the accident. Most people will get out of the car after a car accident feeling some sort of twinge in their neck, but it is not uncommon for a person who has been in a car accident to feel fine immediately afterward, and not have whiplash symptoms for a day or two. Whiplash injuries can heal relatively quickly, or they might take weeks or even months to go away.
If you have neck pain after a car accident, you should get medical treatment. If the pain is severe, you should see a doctor or go to the hospital right away. Learn more about whiplash and car accident claims.
Many people will get at least a slight headache after a car accident even if they don’t hit their head on anything. This is reasonable. Our bodies were simply not designed to comfortably withstand an immediate deceleration from 20 or 30 MPH to zero. Many car accident headaches will go away relatively quickly, but some do not. If you have a headache that lasts more than a day or two after a car accident, you should definitely seek medical attention. It might be nothing, but it might be a sign of a more significant injury.
The soft tissues of the body are the body’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Ligaments connect bones to bones, and tendons connect muscles to bones. A soft tissue injury is a bruise, stretch, or tear of the soft tissue. The medical terms for the injury differ depending on the body part. Technically, one strains a muscle or a tendon, but sprains a ligament or a joint.
Symptoms of muscle, tendon, and ligament injury include muscle aches and pain, joint pain, and limited flexibility and range of motion in the injured part of the body. Again, these symptoms can develop immediately after the accident or not for several days. A mild soft tissue injury will generally heal quickly, but a severe sprain or strain can linger for months. Think of a sprained ankle. Many people who have badly sprained an ankle have felt that it is worse than breaking a bone because it hurts a lot and takes so long to heal. Get more information on soft tissue injury claims.
This cannot be emphasized enough. If you have pain or other symptoms after a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. If the pain immediately after the accident is severe, you should go to the emergency room. Otherwise, you should make an appointment to see your primary care provider as soon as possible.
If you were in a car accident and do not seek medical attention immediately after the accident, you should be aware that insurance companies will tend to think that you weren't really injured, or you weren't hurt as badly as you claim to have been. So, always get necessary medical care after a car accident.