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What exactly is whiplash, and how do you treat it?

If you’re driving along a West Virginia roadway and another vehicle hits you, your immediate and distant future may take a turn for the worse. Rescue assistance would hopefully be swift to arrive at the scene and help you obtain immediate medical attention. One of the most common injuries you might suffer in a motor vehicle collision is whiplash. 

Whiplash is a broad term referring to many medical issues that typically occur in the upper body. If you’ve been in a car accident, you might show immediate symptoms of whiplash. Then again, it’s possible that your symptoms could be delayed for hours, days, even weeks.  

What are the specific symptoms of whiplash? 

The blunt force trauma that occurs upon impact in a collision can cause injury to your upper body. If someone hits you from behind, for instance, the force of impact may cause your upper body to be violently thrust forward then backward. This alone can cause whiplash, which typically involves tendons, muscles or nerve endings in your neck, shoulders, upper back or chest areas.  

The most common symptoms of whiplash include shoulder pain, neck pain or stiffness in the neck. However, you might also experience lower back pain or pain in your arm or hand if you have suffered a whiplash injury. Whiplash symptoms can also mimic symptoms of brain injury, such as dizziness, ringing in the ears, irritability or memory problems.  

How long does it take to recover from whiplash? 

If a doctor diagnoses you with whiplash, you’ll need lots of rest during recovery. You might also take prescription medications for pain relief. No two patients experience whiplash in exactly the same way, which is why it’s not possible to state with 100% certainty how long your recovery will take, nor is it possible to know whether you will have any permanent disabilities related to your condition.  

If you have a mild case of whiplash, you might be able to start resuming physical movement and activity in a few days. As time passes, most doctors would agree that you should continue to show signs of improvement. It’s possible, however, for chronic, adverse health conditions to develop from whiplash, which could impede your quality of life or prevent you from returning to work.  

Who is responsible for financial expenses related to medical care? 

If another driver’s negligence was a causal factor to your whiplash injuries, you should not have to bear the full financial burdens that may be associated with your post-accident medical treatment and care. Physical therapy, surgery and other medical care is expensive, which can place undue financial stress on you during recovery.  

Many recovering victims seek to alleviate financial distress by filing personal injury claims in a civil court against the person deemed responsible for their injuries.  

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