What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a relatively common injury suffered in incidents such as car accidents. Depending on the degree of the injury, whiplash can cause long-lasting pain and loss of mobility in the neck. It is typically possible to make a full recovery from whiplash, but some people continue to experience pain for years after the injury occurs. Learn more about whiplash and when you may be able to receive financial compensation for a whiplash injury after an accident in Kansas City.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a type of neck injury where the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues of the neck become stretched or torn due to a back-and-forth – or whipping – motion of the head and neck. It can refer to neck strain, sprain, contusion, inflammation and other neck injuries specifically caused by the head and neck moving rapidly backward and forward. 

What Causes Whiplash?

Whiplash and other neck injuries can be caused by many different accidents and incidents that put the head, neck, back and spine at risk. Thousands of victims are diagnosed with whiplash injuries each year. Common causes of whiplash in Kansas City include:

The most common cause of whiplash is a rear-end collision. This type of motor vehicle accident specifically puts victims at risk of whiplash due to the sharp forward and backward motion of the head and neck caused by one vehicle striking the back of another.

How Do You Know if You Have Whiplash?

Whiplash can happen to anyone. If you get into an accident that involves jerking, whipping or otherwise injuring your neck, you may have whiplash if you notice any of the following symptoms in the following hours or days. You may also notice some symptoms immediately:

  • Neck pain
  • Worsening pain when you move your neck
  • Stiffness or lost range of motion
  • Persistent headaches
  • Pain or tenderness in the upper back, shoulders or arms
  • Tingling or numbness radiating down the arms
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depression

Whiplash is typically diagnosed by a doctor physically evaluating a patient, listening to the patient’s complaints and symptoms, and sometimes using imaging tests, such as x-rays, to rule out other conditions.

How to Treat Whiplash 

If you are diagnosed with whiplash, the prescribed treatments can include pain management using rest, pain medications, hot and cold pads, and muscle relaxants. Your doctor may also prescribe a series of stretches and light exercises to help you restore full range of motion in your neck. In cases involving severe injury or chronic pain, physical therapy may also be necessary.

How Long Does it Take to Heal From Whiplash?

The answer to this depends on the individual and the seriousness of the whiplash injury. Most cases of whiplash are resolved in just a few days. Other victims, however, may take weeks, months or even years to stop experiencing pain, discomfort and other symptoms connected to whiplash. It is important not to rush your recovery and only to return to your regular activities when cleared by your doctor.

Most patients make full recoveries from whiplash injuries. However, some can suffer long-lasting pain and decreased mobility that take years to dissipate. Those at risk of suffering more serious consequences from whiplash include the elderly, those who have had previous neck injuries and those who are involved in high-speed accidents.

Can You Receive Compensation for Whiplash?

You may be eligible for financial compensation for a whiplash injury in Missouri if someone reasonably should have prevented the injury. If you were injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver, for example, that driver’s insurance provider may be financially responsible for your whiplash injury and related losses. For more information about your legal rights after being diagnosed with whiplash in Kansas City, contact The Wendt Law Firm. P.C. today.


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