Have you experienced a car accident and would want to know whether you have suffered from a whiplash injury for immediate management or for purposes of getting medical reimbursements from your insurance? The only way to determine if you have suffered from a whiplash injury is through assessing the presence of any signs and symptoms of whiplash injury. As the name suggest, whiplash injury can develop after a forceful forward and backward movement of the head leading to injury to the cervical spine and the soft structures around the area.
Whiplash injury can present itself as an acute injury giving you pain along the neck and back right away; however, it can also develop in an insidious manner only yielding symptoms 10 days to weeks after the actual car accident. So how do you know if you have whiplash injury? The following are some of the things that you need to check:
- The presence of neck pain
As stated, neck pain should be observed immediately after the accident until 2 weeks thereafter. Any presence of neck pain without other precipitating factors can be suspected as a whiplash. Pain is also commonly associated with neck stiffness either at the back or front of the neck.
- The presence of headache
Pain along the base of the skull is also a symptom for whiplash as a result of injury to the joint between the neck and cranium.
- Changes in vision
When you suddenly or gradually experienced blurred vision after a car accident, you should consider having a whiplash injury.
- Dizziness and fatigue
Injury to the cervical spine can also lead to poor nerve impulse transmission possibly leading to feeling dizzy. A generalized feeling of fatigue can also be a sign.
- Problems in concentration and memory
Problems in the nerve impulse transmission can also cause the person with whiplash injury to have poor concentration. This can also be due to the jarring of the brain causing temporary problems in the cerebral cortex, especially on the frontal lobe.
- Sleep disturbances
Poor sleep is also a symptom of whiplash; although, it is not a definitive sign. But in case you suddenly had problems falling asleep with no apparent reason, your recent car accident may be the culprit.
- Changes in speech
Concussion injury to the speech centre in the brain as a result of whiplash can also lead to speech changes such as lisping or slurring.
- Problems in swallowing
When your neck is severely injured due to whiplash, the muscles in the front of the throat may also be severed causing difficulty in swallowing.
Aside from these, there could also be emotional problems such as irritability, presence of anxiety and unexpected anger or crying.
All of these things should be carefully monitored during the first 2 weeks following a car accident because some symptoms may appear even if days have already passed. You can also do a whiplash test to immediately determine any whiplash injury. Do this by carefully touching your chin to your chest or looking above the head as far as possible. If you are unable to do this or if pain develops while employing it, most probably, the muscles along the cervical spine are sore and stiff from a whiplash injury.
Once you have observed the presence of any of these symptoms following a car accident, better seek medical consult to specifically determine the presence if an injury. Or better yet, go to the nearest emergency department immediately following the accident for more immediate diagnosis and management.