The Cook & Tolley Blog

Recognizing the signs of whiplash after a car crash

After a Georgia car accident, crash victims should receive medical attention immediately. This way, if the victim does choose to sue for compensation, he or she has the evidence necessary to back his or her claims. Unfortunately, there are certain injuries that do not present symptoms until well after the fact. Whiplash is one such injury. For this reason, it is important that individuals recognize the signs of whiplash and return to the doctor as soon as they begin to develop.

According to Mayo Clinic, the first signs of whiplash may not develop until 12 to 24 hours after the crash. Whiplash, which is a type of neck injury that occurs when the neck undergoes rapid back-and-forth movement, comes with a few common symptoms, such as neck stiffness and pain, headaches and loss of range of motion of the neck. However, some people experience more severe symptoms than others. For some crash victims, the pain and tenderness may radiate down into the shoulders, across the upper back and into the arms. Pain may grow worse with neck movement, and victims may begin to experience extreme fatigue and dizziness.

Whiplash generally resolves itself within a few weeks and after only minor discomfort. However, some people experience symptoms for longer. Those people also tend to develop more severe symptoms, such as ringing in the ears, blurred vision, memory problems, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating and sleep issues. In these types of cases, doctors may recommend therapy.

To diagnose whiplash, doctors generally rely on patient accounts of how they feel. However, MedicalNewsToday explores three tests healthcare providers use to diagnose whiplash.

To rule out broken bones or other conditions such as arthritis, spinal fracture or dislocations, a doctor might order an X-ray. If the X-ray does not reveal another issue, the patient may then undergo a CT scan, which provides more detailed images of the bone and soft tissue. Finally, if a CT scan still reveals nothing, the provider may resort to an MRI, which utilizes radio waves and a magnetic field to produce a detailed image of the affected area.

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