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How to Tell If You Have Whiplash

A car accident can injure any part of you—from your head to your toes. Whiplash is one common upper-body injury caused by car accidents in San Jose. It affects the soft tissues of your neck, including your muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. Sometimes, the intervertebral discs or joints in the spine might also be injured. Like other forms of acute trauma, whiplash injuries have the potential to cause chronic symptoms. Knowing how to recognize whiplash can facilitate prompt treatment to reduce this risk.

Know the Common Causes of Whiplash

Any incident that involves the abrupt, forceful forward and backward movement of the head has the potential to cause whiplash. Whiplash injuries are most often associated with rear-end car collisions, but they might also occur from acts of violence and sports injuries. Some people are more likely to suffer whiplash, including the following:

  • Females
  • Youth
  • Those with a history of neck problems
  • Those who are struck when their car is stopped
  • Those who have sedentary jobs

This last risk factor might seem unusual, but it’s relevant because sedentary lifestyles contribute to tight neck muscles, which are more likely to be injured.

Recognize the Symptoms of Whiplash

The symptoms are fairly easy to recognize. The most common ones include these localized problems:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Muscle spasms

Some people may have additional symptoms, such as persistent headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and memory problems. The pain may extend to the shoulder, arm, and hand. The limb can feel numb.

Understand the Onset of Your Symptoms

Although neck pain is easy to detect, it might not occur immediately after the car accident. Whiplash injuries can take a few days to develop. With the right treatment, you’re likely to get relief from your symptoms within a few days, although the pain might linger for a few months. You’re more likely to develop chronic symptoms if any of the following apply to you:

  • Your symptoms are severe
  • You experience pain shortly after the incident
  • You have pain in the arm or fingers
  • You experience neurological impairments like memory loss

Remember to make a note of all of your symptoms. Your medical information will play a crucial role in your personal injury claim.

man suffering from whiplash

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