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Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that you can suffer in a car accident in Philadelphia. Even though it is such a common condition, however, doctors and surgeons are still confused by what whiplash is, how to diagnose it, and what is the best way to treat it. This confusion is a terrible thing for victims because others will accuse them of faking their injuries or claiming they are far worse than they really are.
This is why it is so important to have the personal injury lawyers from Gilman & Bedigian on your side if you have suffered whiplash in an accident in Philadelphia.
What is Whiplash?
Unfortunately, very little is known about the medical condition commonly known as whiplash. Doctors and surgeons tend to agree that the condition has something to do with the muscles and tendons in your neck, back, and torso. When your body is jolted suddenly, these tissues are quickly stretched up to their breaking point and then promptly relaxed again. Jolts like these are common in situations like:
- A car accident;
- Contact sports, especially football;
- Slip and fall incidents; and/or
- Domestic violence or criminal assaults.
When muscles and tendons are stretched suddenly, they can become frayed like an overused rubber band and become strained. Worse, they can stretch past their breaking point and snap, resulting in a torn muscle or severed tendon. However, whiplash involves neither a torn or strained muscle or tendon. Instead, there are no markers that the tissues are compromised at all except for the physical pain and the debilitation that normally comes with one of these conditions.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash comes with symptoms that generally mirror those of a strained or torn muscle or tendon. However, there are some differences, as well. Whiplash symptoms can include the following.
- Tenderness or a constant pain in the affected area.
- Stabbing or intense pain when you use the muscles and tendons in the affected area.
- Hard or knotted muscles at the site of the injury.
- Decreased mobility, particularly in the back and neck.
Unfortunately, these symptoms do not always present themselves immediately after the incident that hurt you. Instead, they can remain latent for days or even weeks after the event. When they do begin to appear, victims of whiplash are often left confused, especially when the accident seemed like a minor one. Victims typically think that they managed to escape unscathed and are surprised by the sudden onset of the pain associated with whiplash. This delay also impacts the diagnosis process, as well, as the onset of symptoms can seem to come from nowhere. Doctors presented with symptoms of whiplash can be skeptical, even when your pain is legitimate.
Because there are still uncertainties about what whiplash really consists of, doctors have long used a treatment plan that runs parallel with a strained tendon:
- Rest. The first thing that doctors will usually tell victims of whiplash is to rest the affected area. Unfortunately, because whiplash is typically in your torso, back, or neck, resting the area is easier said than done. Even the most mundane moves – from getting out of bed to washing yourself in the shower to putting on your shoes – can implicate the compromised area, send shots of pain through your body, and prevent the injury from resting.
- Ice. Doctors also tend to tell whiplash victims to ice the area in the immediate aftermath of the onset of symptoms. This period of icing the injury usually lasts several days.
- Painkillers. Many doctors will provide prescription painkillers, like non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs (NSAIDs), for whiplash victims. These help you cope with the pain you are dealing with and will reduce the inflammation that is preventing the healing process from the beginning.
- Heat. Doctors also tend to prescribe using heating pads or warm damp towels once you have iced the injury enough to reduce inflammation. Heat can stimulate the blood flow in the affected area and speed up the healing process.
- Support. If your whiplash injury is especially difficult to shake off, doctors tend to prescribe a support brace to reduce the strain that your daily life is having on the injury.
- Massage. Another common treatment is to massage the injured area. This breaks up any scar tissue that has developed and will help relieve knotted muscles that are still hiding and insulating the injury.
- Rehab. Finally, rehabilitating the muscles and tendons can be a huge step in your recovery process, especially if it has been many months since the incident occurred.
Needless to say, seeing a doctor and getting a treatment plan that is specific to your needs is critical if you want to recover from a case of whiplash.
In some cases, though, your whiplash might not be cured after this plan of treatment has been completed, leaving you with debilitating pain and few other symptoms that might lead a doctor to a correct diagnosis. In these cases, doctors might diagnose you with chronic pain, which is the medical term for a persistent pain with no known cause. This can be a landmark in your road to recovery because it means that the medical community no longer knows why you are experiencing pain and no longer has a good idea of what to do about it. Nevertheless, you are still living life in terrible agony and have to deal with the debilitations of a severe and ongoing case of whiplash.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian can help. We understand the confusion and difficulties you can face when you are suffering from a serious medical condition, but others are skeptical about it. By representing you both in the courtroom and outside of it, we can fight for your rights and interests and recover the compensation that you need to make a full recovery from the accident in the first place. Contact us online.