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One of the most common injuries that you can suffer in a motor vehicle accident in Baltimore is whiplash. Despite its prevalence, though, whiplash is not completely understood by doctors, especially when it leads to chronic pain. Defense lawyers make much of this confusion, and often claim that victims are faking their whiplash injuries or making them seem far worse than they really are.
The personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian know that whiplash injuries are real, and can be extremely debilitating.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a stretch or a tear to the muscles tendons in your back or, more likely, in your neck. The stretching happens after a sudden jolt or trauma makes your neck jerk to the front, back, or side, or makes your back absorb the impact in strange ways. These sudden jolts happen in a variety of circumstances:
When tendons stretch or tear like this, it is called a strain. Unfortunately, unlike for muscle strains, tendon strains are tricky to heal. They are also difficult to rest because they connect muscles to bones. Together, these issues can make it difficult to treat and recover from whiplash. Because whiplash can also be very painful and debilitating, these difficulties make it an underrated danger to your future well-being.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash is also a tricky medical condition because its symptoms are not always the same and, perhaps more importantly, do not always manifest themselves immediately after the incident. Common symptoms include:
- Tenderness where the tendon has been strained
- A constant and sharp pain near the affected area
- Stabbing and debilitating pain when you use the muscles and tendons that have been hurt
- Knotted and hardened muscles at the site
- Lack of motion or a decrease in mobility
- For whiplash in your neck, a difficulty looking over your shoulder, and headaches near the bottom and back of your skull
- If the whiplash is in your back, you will likely have more difficulty rotating at your hips
While there is a wide variety of symptoms that you can have if you are suffering from whiplash, even more confusing is the fact that they might not present themselves right after the accident. In many cases, whiplash symptoms remain latent for days or even weeks after the incident – long enough for victims to think that the symptoms are unrelated. This can pose a problem for a correct diagnosis, prevent you from getting the correct treatment, and prolong the suffering that you are going through.
Treatment for Whiplash
The treatment for whiplash is similar to the treatment for other kinds of tendon or muscle strains or tears. Doctors tend to recommend resting the affected area for days or sometimes weeks after the diagnosis. They also tend to prescribe the following treatments, though these can vary on the location and severity of your whiplash:
- Ice. The immediate treatment method often involves icing the impacted area for several days after the symptoms begin.
- Prescription painkillers. Many doctors prescribe painkillers like non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs (NSAIDs) for many of the worst whiplash injuries they see. These reduce the inflammation that you can be suffering and minimize the pain that you are going through.
- Heat. Another common treatment is to heat the affected area with a moist heat, like a towel that has been saturated with hot water. This treatment, however, only comes after icing the injury for several days – heating whiplash before the swelling and inflammation have been contained can make things even worse.
- Brace. For whiplash injuries that require lots of rest, many doctors recommend using a neck or back brace to reduce the strain that the area has to endure on a daily basis.
- Massage. Some doctors also recommend getting regular massages to the injured area to loosen up the muscles and tendons that have been strained.
- Rehabilitation. When the recovery time for your case of whiplash goes past a month, you might need to rehabilitate the muscles and tendons that you have compromised and allowed to rest. This typically involves stretching and strengthening exercises to bring back the power and mobility of the impacted area.
Of course, going to a doctor to plot out the best course of action for your individual circumstances is always the best plan, as your age and other health conditions can complicate the treatment that you need, the most.
Whiplash and Chronic Pain
Unfortunately, whiplash is not fully understood by the medical profession. It is not rare for victims of whiplash to undergo all of the regular treatments, only to still feel the pain and suffer the debilitating effects of a case of whiplash. In many of these cases, months or even years pass without any improvement, effectively turning into instances of chronic pain.
Chronic pain happens when you experience a constant or regularly occurring sensation of pain or discomfort, without a known cause. Whiplash can turn into a case of chronic pain if doctors have taken you through the normal course of treatment, only to find that no improvement has resulted. In these cases, your only medical options can be extremely tentative and expensive treatments or surgeries.
Throughout, you will still be suffering from the pain of whiplash, as well as a decrease in the range of motion that you are used to having. This can drastically reduce your quality of life, all because someone else caused an accident and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Baltimore Personal Injury Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
The personal injury lawyers at the law offices of Gilman & Bedigian in Baltimore can help. By advocating on your behalf both inside the courtroom and outside of it, we can fight for your rights to compensation after suffering a whiplash injury.
Contact us online to help better understand your rights, as well as the path forward: You deserve to be treated fairly, and filing a personal injury lawsuit can ensure that this happens.