Winter has come calling in Massachusetts, and with winter comes an increased number of motor vehicle accidents. With icy and snowy roads an ever-present possibility at this time of year, unfortunately you face a higher risk of another motorist rear-ending you, resulting in a whiplash injury.
A whiplash injury occurs when the force of the other vehicle hitting yours causes your head and neck to jerk violently back and forth. This abrupt and violent motion can result in many of your nerves and tissues becoming damaged, leading to numerous symptoms including the following:
- Severe neck pain
- Severe shoulder and/or upper back pain
- Substantial neck stiffness
- Substantially reduced head and neck range of motion
- Frequent severe headaches
- Frequent and persistent shoulder and/or arm tingling, numbness and/or weakness
One of the many problems associated with a whiplash injury is the fact that your physician may well find it difficult to diagnose your precise injury and therefore how to treat it. You nevertheless should seek medical attention as soon as possible after your accident. Be prepared to undergo the following:
- Comprehensive physical exam
- Comprehensive medical history
- Neck and back x-rays
- CT scan
Fortunately, many whiplash injuries, while exceptionally painful, heal themselves within a few months without excessive amounts of medical intervention. Other whiplash injuries, however, require a long course of medical, chiropractic and/or acupuncture treatment. You may also need to wear a cervical collar and take prescription pain medications.