Even a minor accident can be a dizzying experience. It takes you by surprise and shakes you up in a way that leaves you feeling out of touch with your surroundings.
Even as you get out of your car and check the damage, you might experience a surreal feeling that doesn’t seem real. You exchange information with the other driver, file a police report if needed and get on with your day.
Unfortunately, the surreal nature of a car accident is the perfect cover for whiplash. It’s a condition you might not see coming until it’s too late and by the time you recognize your symptoms for what they are, there may not be a whole lot you can do about it unless you call a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, MN.
Before you walk away from an accident thinking you’re fine, make sure to thoroughly evaluate your health and wellness. Catching whiplash early can save you a world of hurt and help form the foundation for a personal injury suit if another driver was found to be at fault in your accident. Here’s what you need to look out for.
There are a few immediate signs and symptoms that are indicative of whiplash—things you’ll start experiencing immediately after an accident.
Pain is the first symptom and it’s usually concentrated around the neck and shoulders, sometimes creeping up into the back the skull. Occasionally, you might feel tension as far down as your arms or behind your eye sockets. This pain is caused by hyperextension of the soft tissue in your neck. The violent rocking motion that gives whiplash its name (forward, then back), causes the soft tissue to be overextended in a way that causes microtears, leading to pain.
In addition to the hallmark neck pain of whiplash, you should also look out for dizziness, vision problems, a splitting headache, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and pressure in the front of your face, similar to a sinus cold. These are all warning signs that the nerve bundles in your neck may be pinched or compressed as the result of whiplash’s effect on the cervical spine.
Finally, disorientation is something you should note immediately if you’re experiencing it. Make sure you can walk straight, that your eyes can follow and adjust to things, that you can hear clearly and understand what people are saying. These issues typically signal a concussion, but can also be indicative of whiplash as well.
The tricky thing about whiplash is that even if you don’t feel any immediate symptoms after a crash, it doesn’t mean they won’t crop up later. After the shock of the event has worn off and your adrenaline has gone down, whiplash symptoms can manifest. As soon as they do, you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, MN right away.
One of the most prominent “aftershocks” of whiplash is progressive tension or soreness in your neck or shoulders. In some cases, you may see bruising; in other cases, you may have issues with mobility. These are caused by the soft tissue hyperextension and won’t heal properly unless rehabilitated correctly by a medical professional’s program. In addition, many people experience tension headaches that are the result of neck soreness.
Because whiplash affects the neck and cervical spine, it also affects all of the nerves that run throughout your body, since the cervical spine is the root of all these nerves.
Slipped discs or compressed vertebrae can cause a whole host of problems throughout your body, including referred nerve pain, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, skin conditions and so much more, including chronic pain. All of these issues will linger and get worse if not properly treated.
What happens if you just try to shrug off whiplash injuries and hope they fade in time? Chances are, they’ll get worse.
The unique nature of whiplash injuries means that if they’re not treated promptly and properly, they could potentially heal wrong, leaving you stuck with semi-permanent or permanent damage.
Soft tissue can heal stressed, making it hard to regain mobility in your neck or shoulders, while slipped discs and compressed vertebrae will stress nerve roots, causing them to become inflamed and pained. From there, it’s a top-down problem, affecting each individual in a unique way, with uncomfortable consequences.
Avoiding Permanent Damage
There are two simple steps for avoiding permanent damage from a whiplash injury. First, contact a medical professional and have yourself examined for whiplash damage. A doctor or chiropractor will be able to qualify the extent of your injuries and make sure you’re put into a rehabilitation plan that sees them healed correctly.
Second, is to contact a personal injury attorney in Minneapolis, MN. Medical bills aren’t cheap and any long-term ailments you suffer from can be debilitating. If the other driver in your accident is found to be at fault, seeking damages can help you get ahead of any medical debt or lost wages you may experience from a whiplash injury.