Long Term Effects of Whiplash After a Car Accident
Whiplash is the single most common physical injury in car accidents. It happens when the force of impact causes the head and neck to whip back and forth quickly — more quickly than the neck structure is designed to withstand.
How forceful does the impact have to be? Not very. Studies have shown that significant whiplash can occur at speeds as low as 10 kms per hour.
Moreover, the whiplash injury can happen in mere seconds. In fact, many people who suffer from whiplash don’t remember it happening, and they often don’t even realize they have whiplash until hours, days, or even weeks have passed.
That’s because soreness and inflammation set in gradually. Meanwhile, the surge of adrenaline and confusion during an auto accident distracts the brain from physical symptoms — a kind of “fog of war” effect.
For most people, whiplash will resolve in a matter of months, especially in the context of medical treatment. Still, even in these relatively short-term whiplash cases, if the underlying accident happened because someone else was negligent, the whiplash victim may be entitled to an award for their suffering.
But sometimes whiplash doesn’t go away. In these cases — which we now know are more common than doctors once believed — the long-term effects of whiplash can persist for years, causing profound pain and restricted mobility, to say nothing of the substantial disruption to the victim’s quality of life.
So what are the long-term effects of whiplash? Who is most likely to suffer from chronic whiplash? And just how common is it? We look at the latest science below.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Whiplash?
While whiplash is primarily defined by neck pain and restricted range of motion in the head, neck, and shoulders, the long-term effects of whiplash can reach much farther. They may include:
- Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, upper back, or lower back
- Numbness, weakness, stiffness, or pain in the arms and/or legs
- Severe headaches (sometimes including migraines)
- Reduced cervical range of motion
- Jaw pain
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty sleeping / fatigue
- Difficulty with memory or focus
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Stomach aches
- A variety of non-painful neurological symptoms
- Irritability and/or anxiety
- General ill health
Additionally, several studies have shown that people who suffer the long-term effects of whiplash are more likely to experience new-onset mental anguish and emotional distress, which researchers believe may be due to the frustration of dealing with an injury that makes life more difficult and “seems like it will never go away.”
If you have suffered a whiplash injury as a result of a car accident which was no fault of your own then you are entitled to make a claim for the injury you suffered. It all starts with a conversation. So call us for a confidential chat on 1890 252467 or tell us what happened so that we can best advise and guide you.
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