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Why You Shouldn't Ignore Head And Neck Injuries After a Car Accident

Steve Wagner

Whiplash Remains Common Accident Injury But Can Mask More Serious Issues

A whiplash injury commonly happens to people sitting in a car that is hit from behind or rear-ended. It can also happen from a side-impact or T-bone collision and is most often diagnosed by medical providers when a patient shows symptoms after being involved in a car wreck. Whiplash happens when the head is quickly forced backward or rapidly forward and is then snapped again in the opposite direction. The motion causes stretching or tears and sprains of muscles and ligaments in the neck, and it may also damage the nerves.

Indiana University Health has looked at the effects of whiplash and identified it as an injury pain and stiffness in the soft tissues of the neck that really doesn’t allow the neck to move quickly or beyond its normal range. IUH concluded that whiplash can cause mild to debilitating discomfort that impacts the ability to move and function regularly and can also result in significant pain and suffering. At times, whiplash can mask the start of other – more serious – head and neck injuries as well.

Head and Neck Injuries You Can’t Ignore

Some serious accidents can cause severe whiplash and have lasting complications that eventually reveal a more serious injury. In some rare cases involving automobile accidents, whiplash may even cause broken bones. These types of injuries can be costly to treat, typically require long-term therapy or even invasive surgeries that take months of rehabilitation and recovery time and include:

  • Cerebral Hemorrhage: Tearing of brain tissue that produces bleeding, which is immediately life threatening.
  • Concussion: Symptoms of concussion can include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, blurred vision, tinnitus and mood swings.
  • Disk Damage: Severe whiplash can cause a disk to “slip,” putting pressure on the spinal cord and producing debilitating pain. Extended therapy and/or surgery will be required.
  • Spinal Cord Damage: Spinal cord trauma produces numbness, weakness and fatigue in the body below the point of injury.
  • Torn Muscles and Ligaments: When the muscle or ligament is torn or ruptured, the head will be completely immobilized. Surgery is generally required, with a recovery period from four to six months.

Know the Symptoms of Head and Neck Injuries

Even though whiplash and other head and neck injuries are serious, car accident injuries do not always present themselves immediately. For example, if involved in a car wreck, the adrenaline a victim is feeling can actually make an injury unknown for some time. Once it subsides, the pain and injuries show up and within a couple of hours to even a day later, may start to produce some of these more serious symptoms from Mayo Clinic:

  • Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
  • Dull, radiating pain from the neck to the arms
  • Fatigue and dizziness
  • Headache
  • Inability to move your head with ease
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Memory loss and confusion
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Tenderness and pain in the chest, arms, shoulders and upper back
  • Tingling and numbness in the arms
  • Weakness in your arms, hands, or legs

Anyone who has experienced these symptoms should seek medical care immediately and get to an emergency room to be assessed by a professional. Immediate care will reduce the chance of complications and provide the proper documentation needed to make a case for the incident.

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At Wagner Reese, we understand personal injury law, car wrecks, dealing with insurance, and can help you understand and maximize your damages caused by someone else’s negligence. Call us now for a FREE consultation at (888) 204-8440.


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