Whiplash is the most common injury for car accident victims and yet it is also referred to as a hidden injury for a reason. When you get into a car accident, the shock and stress of the accident can cause your adrenaline to start pumping and keep you from noticing pain and other symptoms of an injury at first. Once the shock and adrenaline start to wear off in the hours after the accident, you may start to slowly notice symptoms of an injury start to creep in. These symptoms that are slow to appear can be a sign of a hidden injury like whiplash. That’s why you should see a doctor, like a whiplash chiropractor, as soon as possible after a car accident.
While you might not recognize that you have an injury right away, a whiplash chiropractor and car accident injury specialist is highly skilled in identifying common car accident injuries like whiplash. If you end up needing to file a car accident injury claim, it helps if you went to see a doctor right away as this shows you were taking your health seriously and recognized that there might be an issue. Hidden injuries like whiplash don’t have a specific marker that shows up on a diagnostic imaging test that makes it clear from the start that you have a whiplash injury. The sooner you start talking to your doctor and reporting your symptoms, the more documentation you will have of your injury going forward.
Understanding Your Whiplash Injury
You might be wondering why whiplash is so tricky to diagnose. When you are in a car accident, especially if it’s a fender-bender or rear-end collision, your head and neck are susceptible to strong forces. While your seat belt holds your upper body in place, it cannot keep your head and neck from getting jostled around. Your neck typically has a decent range of motion because of all the supporting muscles and tendons, but the sudden force of impact can cause those muscles and soft tissues to stretch and strain abnormally. This can lead to tears in your muscles and even damage supportive soft tissues like spinal discs between each of your vertebrae. A whiplash injury can also cause headaches as well as pain in your neck and upper back.
How Whiplash Is Diagnosed
If your doctor suspects you have a whiplash injury, they will likely perform a physical examination of your neck and back. Your neck muscles may be tender or even warm to the touch, which can be signs of inflammation in the area due to muscle strains and tears. A whiplash chiropractor will also look for any potential misalignments in the spine caused by the accident and the whiplash injury. Your doctor may want to rule out other injuries like a concussion or fracture with diagnostic imaging tests like an X-ray or CT scan. You will need to provide your doctor with a detailed description of any symptoms you have started to experience, when you first noticed them, how long they have lasted, and the severity. All of this information will help your doctor determine the most appropriate diagnosis for your car accident injury. Your report of symptoms, a physical examination, and results from diagnostic imaging tests will all help inform the diagnosis of whiplash.
How Whiplash Is Treated
When your doctor develops a treatment plan for whiplash, it is important to follow through with all doctors’ appointments and recommended treatments. In order to demonstrate the seriousness of your injury, you will want to show a commitment to treatment for your whiplash injury. Your doctor will also document your progress throughout the treatment plan, which will help to demonstrate how you are starting to heal and also note any complications from the whiplash injury. Whiplash injuries should be treated by a whiplash chiropractor or car accident specialist who has knowledge and expertise in the area. Treatment plans for whiplash should be individualized so that they address your specific symptoms as well as the root cause of your injury.
How Your Doctor Can Support Your Injury Claim
At AICA Orthopedics in Marietta, our team of whiplash chiropractors and car accident doctors understand the importance of properly documenting your injury to help support a potential injury claim in the future. We provide comprehensive care for car accident injuries and offer on-site diagnostic imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans, so you can get all the care you need in one convenient location.