Why the Long-Term Effects of Whiplash Should Not Be Ignored After a Car Accident

Whiplash is often viewed as a minor injury that will go away on its own. However, here’s why you should never ignore symptoms of whiplash after a car accident.

When it comes to car accident claims, whiplash is perhaps one of the most underrated injuries. Some people see it as a minor injury and assume that those who complain about it are just exaggerating their symptoms as a way to get more compensation. Some victims treat whiplash as a mild soreness and decide not to treat it, thinking that it will go away on its own. 

The reality is different, though. Not only is whiplash one of the most common injuries in car accidents, but its long-term consequences can cause a lot of damage and affect one’s quality of life. 


What Is Whiplash? 

A broad definition of whiplash would be a neck injury caused by a forceful and sudden back and forth movement of the neck, similar to the cracking of a whip (hence the name whiplash.)

Medical books use whiplash-associated disorders (WAP) to describe injuries caused by sudden acceleration-deceleration movements. WAP can affect various points of the cervical spine, depending on the direction and force of the impact. 

Signs of Whiplash

One of the most important things you need to understand about whiplash is that, more often than not, its symptoms will not show right away. While some car accident victims will experience the first signs of whiplash within minutes or hours after the impact, for others, it can take days or even weeks for the first symptom to show. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car crash. 

Some of the early signs of whiplash include: 

  • Neck and back pain
  • Shoulder pain that radiates from the neck
  • A feeling of pins and needles in the neck and surrounding areas;
  • Headaches;
  • Reduced range of motion in the neck and shoulders

The Long-Term Effects of Whiplash

In most cases, with the right treatment and care, the symptoms of whiplash will alleviate in a few weeks or months. If left untreated, the pain and restrictions caused by this injury can last for a year and significantly affect one’s quality of life. 

Some of the long-term consequences of whiplash include: 

  • Chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Upper and lower back pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Numbness and weakness in the hand and arm
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory problems.

Have You Been Involved in a St. Louis Car Crash?

Have you or a loved one been hurt in a St. Louis car crash? Get in touch with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected. As we’ve mentioned, a lot of car accident victims dismiss the signs of whiplash, thinking that it’s just a minor injury that doesn’t require medical treatment. However, the long-term consequences of whiplash can impact your health for years to come and affect your quality of life tremendously. An experienced auto accident lawyer is aware of all these potential problems and can ensure you get the compensation you are legally entitled to after an accident.

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Updated: May 20, 2021