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What to know about whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common complications people experience following an auto accident. Reports indicate that anywhere between 25 and 40 percent of individuals who experience whiplash will never fully recover.

After a car accident, even if you feel fine, you should still see a doctor. The sooner you can begin treatment for whiplash, the better off you will be. 

When should you see a doctor?

You should see a doctor directly after a car accident or after any other traumatic event that could have damaged tissues around the neck. It is critical for a doctor to reach a firm diagnosis as soon as possible. Additionally, seeing a doctor right after a car crash helps with insurance. If you wait several weeks before going, then it will be more difficult to prove a correlation between your injury and the crash. 

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Most people begin to experience symptoms of whiplash within 24 hours of the incident. However, some people may not recognize the symptoms until over a week later. The most common complications you may experience include:

  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling in limbs
  • Pain and stiffness in neck
  • Blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Sleeping issues
  • Tinnitus

How do doctors treat whiplash?

Treatments can vary depending on the severity of the exact case. With mild whiplash, you may just need to relax while icing the area and taking over-the-counter pain medication. However, if you have more severe whiplash, you may need to undergo physical therapy. Your doctor may need to prescribe stronger pain relievers or muscle relaxers. 

What are the long-term effects of untreated whiplash?

Chronic pain is a common complaint among people who sustained a significant whiplash injury. You may also experience a more limited range of motion around the neck. It is paramount to see a doctor who will conduct one or several imaging tests to determine the extent of the damage. Magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography and X-rays are common. 

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