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The impact of whiplash

There are many ways in which whiplash can occur, from contact sports to amusement park rides. However, the most common way it occurs is through motor vehicle accidents

Although many people talk about whiplash following car accidents, few seem to be aware of the overall impact it can have on a person's life. One scientific study found that it can take up to two years for whiplash symptoms to stabilize. There are also patients who continue to experience the symptoms seven years after the initial incident. Some people may require years of medical treatments and medications.

Short-term impact

It may take several days or even weeks following the collision for symptoms to appear. Most patients report suffering from headaches and pain around the neck. The patient should make efforts to not place any more strain on the area. A prompt medical evaluation can help tremendously to pinpoint the exact location of the pain. Individuals should see a doctor within 24 hours of the crash. 

Long-term impact

There are many ways for a doctor to try to treat the condition. Prescription painkillers and physical therapy can help, but patients should pay attention if the symptoms last for more than six months. At this point, the doctor will refer to the condition as "chronic whiplash." The doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants at this point or suggest chiropractic care. It may take a while for some symptoms to disappear, but it is also possible for certain conditions to never go away. Some of the long-term effects of whiplash can include the following:

  • Severe headaches
  • Numbness in the legs or arms
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tinnitus
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain in the jaw, lower back, neck and shoulders

This type of trauma can also have a psychological impact, leading a person to suffer extreme anxiety about driving or even riding in a car. 

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