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Whiplash from a car wreck can be worse than people expect

In the hierarchy of potential car crash injuries, soft tissue injuries are relatively low on the scale. Unlike broken bones and other serious injuries, whiplash is often a health issue that resolves on its own with minimal medical intervention. Some people don’t even bother seeing a doctor at all when they believe that they have a soft tissue injury like whiplash caused by a car crash. Unfortunately, what people assume about whiplash injuries is not necessarily correct.

Whiplash can be a debilitating medical condition that causes long-term consequences for an injured individual.

What does severe whiplash entail?

Minor whiplash cases involve pain and functional limitations that may only last for a few weeks. More serious cases of whiplash often lead to lingering medical consequences. For example, people may have pain that persists for months or possibly long after the initial injury technically heals.

Whiplash also has a strong association with decreased range of motion and reduced physical strength. Particularly if someone works in a demanding profession that requires physical activity, whiplash could negatively impact their earning potential. More serious cases of whiplash can even cause pain that spreads from the neck and shoulders down into the arms, causing discomfort and additional limitations.

Who is at risk of severe whiplash?

Some people are more likely than others to have a severe case of whiplash and long-term medical consequences that persist months after the initial injury. Someone who has had whiplash before is more likely than the average person to have more severe symptoms that last for longer. The same is true of someone who already has issues with pain in their lower back or neck.

Those who are over the age of 55 also typically tend to experience worse injuries when compared with younger adults. Finally, those involved in particularly high-speed collisions have elevated risk for complications related to whiplash. They may require years of support to manage their pain and improve their physical functions. They may also have to accept significant long-term reductions in income because of their injuries.

Someone diagnosed with whiplash after a car crash may need to file an insurance claim to cover their treatment costs and lost wages. Cases involving more severe whiplash may actually lead to litigation, as insurance may not be enough to offset the lifelong consequences of a more serious case of whiplash. Learning about the possible risks involved with seemingly minor collision injuries may help those involved in collisions better evaluate their circumstances after a crash leaves them hurt.