As an accident lawyer the most common injuries we see are due to whiplash. Because it is so common it is also fairly easy to treat. That is not to say that suffering from injuries due to whiplash isn’t scary or painful. But luckily, there are all different kinds of options to treat whiplash injuries. As an injury attorney, we highly recommend seeking medical attention immediately after your accident. Even if you think your injuries are not that serious. The reason being, injuries due to whiplash can appear just days after your accident. This is because your adrenaline has stopped pumping through your body and you begin to feel the full affect of the accident.
Below are some ways a doctor diagnoses whiplash as well some ways to treat whiplash injuries.
Accident Lawyer | Diagnosing Whiplash
Only a doctor can formally diagnose whiplash. However, there are some identifying symptoms to be aware of.
The most common identifier in whiplash injuries is pain and tenderness in your neck. As stated earlier, due to adrenaline, it can take a day or two after your accident before symptoms materialize. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
- Neck pain that worsens when you move;
- Stiffness in your neck;
- Loss of neck range motion;
- Headaches that generally begin at the base of the skull;
- Tenderness and/or pain in your shoulders, back, and upper arms;
- Tingling or numbness in your arms;
- Dizziness and fatigue;
- Blurred vision;
- Ringing in your ears;
- Issues with memory or concentration;
- Sleeplessness and irritability.
Though we encourage you to see your doctor right away, when you begin to display the above signs, that is when you should visit your doctor.
Visit Your Doctor
When you first experience any pain in your neck after your accident, you need immediate medical attention. This is not only because whiplash is a concern. This is because you could also have other underlying damage. Because symptoms of whiplash can be delayed for a day or more, it’s important to seek treatment right away.
- When your injury is the result of an accident, seeking medical treatment right away actually helps when your attorney is putting together a case for the insurance company;
- Even if the doctor does not initially diagnose you with whiplash, if your symptoms become worse, go back and see your doctor.
- Allow the doctor to conduct a non-invasive physical exam;
- Your doctor will need to check the following:
- Current range of motion;
- The point where you experience pain;
- Tender points in your neck, back, and shoulders;
- Your reflexes will be checked to see how they are performing;
- How much strength you have in your limbs;
- They will check to see if you’re having any sensation issues in your arms, neck, and shoulders.
Prepare Yourself for Diagnostic Tests
In order to get a clear and concise diagnosis, your doctor will likely order X-rays, CT-scans, or an MRI in order to look for underlying issues that may aggravate your whiplash symptoms. These tests will not only help get you a firm diagnosis, but they will help your doctor implement a treatment plan, as well as help your accident lawyer when they are putting your case together.
- X-rays can identify any fractures, dislocations, or arthritis;
- CT-scans will be able to detect bone damage;
- MRIs can detect bone and tissue damage in your spine (disk problems) or ligament issues.
As an injury attorney we urge you to not worry if you have to undergo one or more of these tests. As they are merely routine.
Injury Attorney | Medical Treatment
After your doctor is able to give you a firm diagnosis, it is best to follow whatever treatment they have planned. There are many ways to treat whiplash injuries, however you want to make sure that you follow what your doctor has laid out for you. This will help when we are putting your case together. As it will show that you are putting your health first.
For the first 24 hours after your accident, you will want to take it easy so your tissue can rest. Make sure to spread out any necessary activities so that you have the chance to rest in between them. Avoid heavy lifting and make sure you are not exercising or doing anything strenuous. Remember, you want to rest to make sure that you heal properly from your injuries.
- Avoid staying in the same position for long periods of time
- Try to gently move your neck within a range of motion that does not cause more pain;
- Take prescription medications if you are experiencing severe pain
- Your doctor may prescribe you pain medication if over-the-counter medications are not working for you. These can include muscle relaxers that will help relieve the pain of muscle spasms;
- See a physical therapist
- A physical therapist will be able to help you regain your range-of-motion after an accident. They will be able to teach you stretches that you can do at home.
- Physical therapy may cause a little discomfort however it should not cause pain. Make sure you are communicating with your therapist if you are feeling pain.
- Common physical therapy exercises include rotating your neck left to right, tilting your head side to side, up and down and rolling your shoulders.
Remember, physical therapy will be uncomfortable but should not cause you additional pain.
Some people choose to seek alternative medicine. Which is something that we do not frown upon. However, we do want to caution you on the fact that not all alternatives will be covered by health insurance. And you may not receive compensation in your settlement for certain treatments.
As an accident lawyer we always refer our clients to a chiropractor after an accident. This is because chiropractors can adjust your spine in order to help with the alignment of your spine. Spinal adjustments, under the best circumstances, should help relieve any residual pain in your neck. As well as help restore movement to your neck and back. Make sure you tell your chiropractor that you suffered from whiplash due to an accident and they will treat accordingly.
Though it will not be covered by health insurance and most insurance adjusters will not compensate you for massage therapy, it is still a great way to relieve pain. You will want to wait until soft tissue starts healing so you do not aggravate your injuries. When you begin, you will want to keep the massage light, but as you begin healing, your massage therapist will be able to determine the proper amount of pressure.
Acupuncture may also not be compensated when you reach a settlement. It is an ancient Chinese form of medicine where a trained professional inserts tiny needles into your skin. Acupuncture is used in whiplash cases in order to restore balance.
Suffering from Injuries? Contact an Accident Lawyer Today!
Remember, if you are injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you deserve to seek medical treatment. It is important to follow the regimen your doctor prescribes in order to receive the best possible care and settlement amount.
If you have been injured, contact us right away. Consultations with an injury attorney in our office are free. You deserve the best possible representation and we are here to help!