Most car accident injuries involve soft tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and muscles. Some injuries are not obvious immediately after the crash. It can take time for symptoms to develop.
This is often the case with whiplash. Seeking medical attention immediately after a motor vehicle accident can help you get a quick diagnosis and treatment.
Whiplash usually occurs when another vehicle rear-ends yours. The force of the impact jerks your neck backward and then forward rapidly, injuring the soft tissues in your neck.
It can take a few days to develop symptoms of whiplash. Symptoms can include:
- Neck pain that worsens with movement
- Stiffness or limited range of motion
- Shoulder, arm or back pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
Because symptoms do not appear right away, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you are not experiencing pain.
Treatment for most whiplash injuries consists of rest and pain management. For severe pain, your doctor may recommend muscle relaxers or lidocaine injections. To help you regain mobility in your neck, your doctor may recommend exercises or physical therapy.
While most people recover from whiplash in a few weeks, some injuries lead to chronic neck pain, headaches and even neurological symptoms that can last months or years.
In North Carolina, you can file a personal injury claim up to three years from the date of the injury, so you should take the time to receive medical care and determine the extent of your injuries.
Even a seemingly minor injury like whiplash can have long-term effects. If you have experienced a car accident, do not delay seeking medical evaluation and treatment.