One of the most well-known personal injuries from car accidents is whiplash. Many people already know that whiplash causes neck pain, but not everyone realizes that this pain can become chronic in some cases. People with chronic whiplash may have to deal with the pain for years. There are treatments that can relieve the pain, but doctors still do not fully understand this condition. If you suffered whiplash from a car accident caused by a negligent driver, talk to a Tennessee auto accident lawyer about compensation.
Symptoms of Chronic Whiplash Pain
The initial symptoms of whiplash involve pain, but in severe cases, other symptoms may develop. Whiplash is the direct result of damage to the ligaments, muscles, and nerves that make up the neck. Abrupt force to the head and neck areas is enough to cause this damage.
Many people with whiplash recover fully within three weeks with little to no medical treatments. However, a startling 42% of people transition from temporary whiplash pain to chronic pain that can last years. There are two different sets of whiplash symptoms to watch for. The first set of symptoms are common for acute whiplash:
- Problems with vision or hearing
- Memory and concentration problems
- Anxiety and depression
Chronic whiplash is more common for people who experience the second set of symptoms:
- History of neck pain
- High perception of pain
- Sensory hyperalgesia
Chronic pain can lead to sleep disturbances due to the discomfort, which can lead to insomnia in some cases. Sleep deprivation is tied with mental health difficulties, like depression and anxiety.
Common Treatments for Whiplash
Chronic whiplash pain may not be fully understood, but there are treatments that can manage this condition. Treatments for whiplash are designed to manage pain, restore movement of the neck, and help you return to your routine.
Depending on the results of your imagery tests and physical exam, your doctor may tell you to rest first and see if your pain improves. If neck damage is heavily present, you may also be advised to apply hot or cold pads around your neck. Non-prescription pain medications can be used for mild whiplash, but in severe cases, you may be told to use prescription-strength pain medications and muscle relaxants.
In severe cases of whiplash, prepare to receive an injection of lidocaine in the muscles of your neck to numb the pain. This is most often used so you can complete the sessions of physical therapy. Exercise and physical therapy are the treatments used to restore motion in your neck. This can involve rotating, tilting, and bending your neck to improve muscle strength and reduce stiffness.
Some treatments work better than others, but be wary about how much insurance companies will cover. Physical therapy may only be covered for a certain period of time.