You’ve just been in a car accident, and you suspect you have whiplash. Now what? While the law may be on your side if you’re the victim, it doesn’t help you pay your medical bills, at least not immediately. You will need to be able to prove that you’re injured. Here’s how you do it.
Common symptoms of whiplash include pain and stiffness in the neck. You may also get headaches that originate in this area. In about half of all cases, the pain develops the day after the accident, after the muscles tighten up and the endorphins have been cleared from your body.
Turning or bending your neck may be difficult or impossible. You may feel pain or stiffness in your shoulders or down your arms, and you may feel pain in the upper and lower part of your back. Dizziness and blurred vision, a pain in the jaw or when swallowing is also typical. If these symptoms persist for more than a day or so, see your doctor immediately.
These symptoms are also symptoms of a concussion or contusion, both of which are serious. Contusions are especially serious, since they may lead to a hematoma – bleeding in and around the brain.
How To Be Diagnosed
To be diagnosed with whiplash, you must see a medical professional. Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose this from your symptoms alone, and by examining the area. If you have no signs of damage to the vertebrae or spinal nerves in your neck, however, other testing may be required to confirm.
The Vancouver car accident lawyers at the Watson Goepel law firm all too often deal with clients who did not seek a medical report after an accident. It is always best to see a doctor to confirm any injuries, as this is the primary way that lawsuits are either settled before court, or won if it does go to court. Often, however, the strength of a doctor’s testimony is enough for the other party to settle out of court, saving you time and frustration and getting you the money you desperately need for medical bills.
Exercises, Chiropractic, and Heat Therapy
Certain exercises can be done if the whiplash is mild enough. These include chin retraction and chin tucks, and even rotation exercises. Sometimes, however, this is too much, and the neck will not tolerate this.
In these cases, more conservative therapy, including heat therapy and chiropractic adjustments may be appropriate.
Heat therapy consists of using an infrared heat lamp, aimed at the neck where the injury occurred. Heat lamps emit near, middle, and some far infrared heat, which penetrates deep into muscle tissue to help it relax. It also stimulates blood flow and healing.
Finally, a good chiropractic doctor may be able to help with some Active Release Technique and chiropractic adjustments. Treatment should focus on getting you well, with treatments lasting anywhere from 4 weeks to possibly 3 months. However, treatments should not be indefinite or require “maintenance” adjustments, as this is a sign that the neck is not healing properly.
When all else fails, meds like paracetamol, NSAIDs, codeine, and diazepam (a muscle relaxant) may be prescribed. The benefit of these medications is that they will quickly eliminate pain in many individuals. The downside is that painkillers only mask the problem. Some of them can also be addicting, and detoxing from them causes its own set of problems.
Arlene Heyer has experienced whiplash personally. A retired paralegal, she enjoys sharing her insights by posting online. You can enjoy her interesting articles on a variety of websites and blogs.
Writting by Arlene Heyer