Whiplash symptoms can occur due to a sudden movement of the head in a forward, sideways or backward movement. Whilst most common in road traffic accidents due to a sudden collision, whiplash symptoms can occur due to accidents at work, sporting activities or even slips. Common whiplash symptoms are headaches, neck pain and stiffening of the muscles, shoulder pain and tingling and heavy sensations in your arms. It causes damages to the disks and nerves and you should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. In road traffic accidents whiplash is caused by the head being thrown backwards whilst the body is thrown forwards. The head may typically be thrown forward again if the car slams it brakes on.
Around 20 % of people who have the unfortunate of being hit in the rear by another vehicle suffer whiplash symptoms. Whiplash has been described as "an acceleration-deceleration mechanism of energy transfer to the neck It may result from rear end or side-impact motor vehicle collisions, but can also occur during diving and other mishaps. The impact may result in bony or soft-tissue injuries (whiplash injury); this in turn may lead to a variety of clinical manifestations (Whiplash-Associated Disorders)."This definition is from a study, known as the Quebec Task Force on Whiplash-Associated Disorders (WADs), One of the most common whiplash symptoms is restricted neck movement due to severe pain and discomfort. In the past doctors recommended that people wore neck collars to assist recovery. It is now believed that that if a collar is used for more than a couple of days it can have a detrimental effect and delay the recovery period.
It is uncommon for there to be any bones broken or anything more serious than damage to the neck muscles, ligaments and joints. This is known as soft tissue damage and the pain can take anything from a couple of hours to weeks to start causing problems. There has been much debate within the medical profession regarding the treatment of whiplash symptoms and it is an area where there is still a lot of disagreement on acceptable treatment for the injuries.
Whilst most people recover within 3 months of the accident whiplash symptoms can still be prevalent for up to 2 years after the accident and can affect many of the daily activities that people take for granted. In serious cases you may wish to visit a chiropractor or receive physiotherapy to ease the pain.
If you suffer whiplash due to the fault of a third party you may be able to claim whiplash compensation. It is important that if you start the process of pursing a claim that you seek a reputable solicitor to represent you. Many whiplash symptoms can continue for long periods so it important to seek medical attention from a doctor or medical practitioner early on to reduce the pain and suffering due to your injuries.