Whiplash is the single most common type of injury reported following a car accident. Indeed, a full two-thirds of all bodily injury legal claims from car accidents are whiplash related. Over three million new cases of whiplash occur each year in the United States. Chances are you already know someone who has chronic neck pain because of a whiplash injury, as 1% of all Nebraska drivers suffer from such a condition. Despite how common this specific class of injury is, people still struggle to fully grasp whiplash and often underestimate its recovery.
Here’s what you need to know if you have suffered a whiplash injury in Nebraska:
#10 Not Limited to Just Car Accidents
Car accidents are by far the leading cause of whiplash injuries. However, there are other ways whiplash can happen. Contact sports like football, soccer, or boxing have caused their fair share of whiplash cases. A similar risk exists in activities where hard falls occur like skiing, skateboarding, or gymnastics. A diagnosis of whiplash by doctors is common in instances of particularly nasty slip and falls. Any sudden violent movement to the upper body can potentially result in a whiplash injury.
#9 Even Accidents with Very Minor Car Damage Can Still Cause Whiplash
It would be easy to assume that car accidents with heavier damage are more likely to cause whiplash, however, experience tells a different story. The angle of the impact and other factors play a significant role in determining whether you will receive a whiplash injury. Car damage alone is an unreliable measure. The average speed of a vehicle involved in an accident that results in a whiplash injury is only 12-mph. Even speeds as low as 5-mph commonly result in a case of whiplash. A car moving 8-mph colliding with a stationary vehicle transfers upwards of 5 G-force of acceleration to the head of the other driver. The force of the impact transfers to the body of the victim in a split-second. The resulting violent motion to the head and upper body causes the injury long before the driver has a chance to react and brace for impact.
#8 Surprising Factors That Put You at Risk for Whiplash
Managing risk is something everyone does day in and day out, even if they don’t think about it. Buckle up, look both ways before crossing, or don’t run with scissors are good examples of everyday risk management. However, some factors are beyond your control or simply not on your radar. Women, some tall people, and those over the age of thirty are more likely be likely to suffer significant adverse symptoms after a whiplash event.
Women are three times more likely to suffer from whiplash as men. A recent Swedish study found three factors that help contribute to this sizable disparity. Physically, women tend to have a bit less mass to the muscles in their upper body and neck. Having less muscle mass in this key area makes them more susceptible to injury from whiplash. They also found that female drivers tend to own lighter, smaller vehicles, and sit more upright nearer to the steering wheel. Both factors can cause whiplash injuries to be more severe.
People who are both tall and thin lack muscle mass in the upper body making them susceptible to an injury from whiplash. As we age we begin to lose flexibility in our joints, cartilage, and vertebrae leaving us more prone for injury when something traumatic occurs.
One more key factor to be aware of is the proper use of the protective gear in a vehicle. The correct position of the head rest is within two inches of the back of your head. Additionally, check to make sure it is not sitting too low, as either of these positions can increase the severity of the damage from a whiplash injury. The single most vital piece of safety equipment in a car is still the seatbelt. Faithful use of the seatbelt and properly adjusted shoulder restraint help mitigate injuries from a car accident, this includes whiplash.
#7 Whiplash-Associative Disorder is the Clinical Term
People commonly uses the term ‘whiplash’ indiscriminately for both the medical condition and the violent action giving rise to the injury. Technically, whiplash describes the violent incident that causes an injury. The medical term for the collective of symptoms from the injury is known as whiplash-associative disorder.
There is a little bit of a medical mystery as to exactly how some of the symptoms in whiplash-associative disorder are related to the injury. Muscle pain from receiving a strain in the area is easy enough to draw a direct correlation to the whiplash incident. However, a wide variety of common symptoms defy easy explanation as to exactly how and why they are related to the injury.
#6 Neck-Collar Use Limited
The classic neck-collar at one time was the preferred method of treating whiplash. Improvements in science have fundamentally altered the understanding of whiplash-associative disorder. This new knowledge has changed the way medical professionals treat whiplash, specifically in regards to the use of the neck-collar.
Modern treatment of whiplash victims limit the use of the neck-collar to only a few days for most cases. Longer use is known to increase the risk of long term or chronic symptoms. A better plan than immobilizing the neck is to seek out a chiropractor and start physical therapy right away. A chiropractor who specializes in treating whiplash can help alleviate pain, restore range of movement, and get you back on your feet again.
#5 Developing Chronic Symptoms is a Serious Risk
Many injuries come with the possibility of developing chronic symptoms. Most whiplash victims show improvement in just a few weeks. However, over half of all whiplash patients develop symptoms that end up being long-term or chronic. Early identification of which cases are likely to develop chronic or prolonged symptoms is problematic. Neither the seriousness of the car accident, nor the severity of the injury is a good indicator of which cases will develop chronic symptoms.
Even whiplash victims who fully recover will suffer with a significantly increased chance of developing periodic bouts of neck and shoulder pain for the rest of their life. Reports hold that around 45% of all chronic neck pain is a direct result of a whiplash related injury.
#4 Missed Work Due to Whiplash
The amount of time you miss from work to recover from whiplash is dependent on several factors. How serious your individual injury is and how fast you can recover is obviously a major factor. The nature of
your work and how strenuous it is can have an impact as well. Nebraska drivers who receive a diagnosis of whiplash-associative disorder after a car accident on average miss around 8 weeks of work. One in fourteen people with whiplash do not end up returning to the same job as they had pre-accident. Collaborating with your doctor or chiropractor is the most reliable manner of figuring out what timeframe for returning to work is best for your individual case. Your employer’s willingness to accommodate temporary or permanent changes to your ability certainly plays a factor as to when you can comfortably return to work.
#3 Too Much Rest Can Be Harmful
The age-old adage of get lots of rest and take it easy following an injury runs contrary to modern treatment for whiplash victims. Excessive rest for a whiplash injury quickly becomes too much of a good thing. Doctors have a catchy slogan for the effect: rest equals rust. More than a few days of rest dramatically increases your chances of having symptoms persist or become chronic. Chiropractic treatment at an early stage has proven beneficial in getting patients back on their feet. A medical study in Canada from 1988 of over 10,000 whiplash cases concluded that chiropractic adjustment is one of the only proven treatments. The study found that conventional treatments like immobilization, muscle relaxers, and patient rest were not especially effective.
#2 Nebraska Chiropractic Treatment of Whiplash
Professional chiropractors are helpful in devising a personalized treatment plan of physical therapy to focus on your specific injuries. Modern chiropractors have a variety of techniques to aid you in restoring range of movement, reducing pain, and helping you get back on your feet.
Gentle targeted stretching of the tight areas helps relax the muscles and ligaments. Manipulation of the spine or affected joints by a combination of short thrusts or slow mobilizing movements are helpful in improving range of movement. Finger pressure applied to trigger points help to relieve pain. Muscle stimulation via Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a modern tool commonly used to help the muscles heal. Robin McKenzie, a New Zealand physical therapist, developed a series of exercises specifically for the patient to use at home. This well-known regimen bearing his name is an effective and popular choice with chiropractors to help patients build strength and flexibility outside of office visits. Stabilization and sensorimotor exercises help correct faulty movement patterns in daily routines and develop healthier coordinated movement patterns. Chiropractors offer expert advice on ergonomic and lifestyle changes to support your full recovery.
#1 Possible Side-Effects and Symptoms of Whiplash
Pain in the neck and shoulders is of course quite common for whiplash victims, but a lengthy list of other symptoms can also be related. Compounding matters is the fact that the full range of symptoms can take days, weeks, or even months to fully manifest. Prompt medical attention after the accident is vital to help minimize chances of developing more serious symptoms. Headaches, dizziness, and balance problems can develop. Stiffness in the neck, back, and shoulder is quite common. Muscle or ligament damage from sprains or tears can occur. Burning, numbness, tingling or other abnormal sensations in the arms, hands, and shoulders occur regularly. Cognitive or psychological conditions bring memory loss, difficulty concentrating, depression, sleep disturbance, fatigue, nervousness, or irritability. This dizzying array of potential symptoms is part of what makes litigating and negotiating a settlement for a whiplash injury more complex than other types of injury. Retaining a personal injury attorney who specializes in whiplash cases is the only surefire way to get every penny you are owed.
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