Whiplash and Car Accident Claims
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Whiplash hurls your head violently backward (hyperextension) and forward (hyperflexion)- injuring your neck. The injury is worse if the neck was turned to the side at the time of the accident. Whiplash is the most common injury resulting from car accidents. Whiplash can cause injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerves. Whiplash is often encountered along with concussions and more serious injury. The effects of whiplash can be short term or life long, and can leave the neck forever vulnerable to injury. The injury can also extend to shoulders and arms.
Whiplash leads to long-term disability in 10% of people injured in car accidents. Approximately 1,000,000 people are exposed to whiplash injury in the U.S. every year. Nearly 25% of these cases result in chronic pain and disability. 1 in 7 whiplash victims will still have significant pain more than 3 years after the accident.
Whiplash can be diagnosed with a simple physical examination or using x-rays. X-rays will also be used to see if there are any fractures of the vertebrae and the extent to which the alignment of the neck has been altered. After a whiplash injury your neck's natural curve may be reversed, which unevenly distributes the weight of your head and may further misalign the veterbrae. This condition can lead to arthritic degeneration and recurring pain.
If you are taken from the accident in an ambulance to a hospital you'll probably be put in a hard neck brace on a back board- as a preventive measure to avoid more serious injury to your neck.
The courses of treatment will vary depending on the extent of your injury and if you have injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, or nerve roots: Physical therapy consisting of heat, cold, traction, cervical collar, trigger point therapy, ultrasound, massage, and neck exercises. Chiropractic treatment of whiplash injuries realigns the neck and helps regain muscle flexibility. Neurological evaluation and medication.
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