Whiplash is one of the most common injuries resulting from car accidents. Even minor collisions can cause whiplash, which occurs when the head is suddenly jolted back and forth. Without proper treatment, whiplash symptoms may persist for months or longer.
That is why promptly seeking medical care is so important after a whiplash-inducing accident. An Oklahoma car accident lawyer can help you seek the justice you need. You deserve the compensation to pay for any treatment that your doctor requires.
Types of Whiplash Treatment
There are a variety of treatment options available for whiplash, depending on the severity. Typical treatments aim to relieve pain, increase mobility, prevent chronic issues, and speed healing. Here are some of the treatment options for whiplash:
Resting Is One of the First Lines of Treatment
This may involve using a soft cervical collar to restrict motion and decrease strain on the neck. Your doctor may also recommend limiting physical activity and work duties that aggravate symptoms. Rest allows time for injured tissues to begin healing.
A cervical collar immobilizes the head and neck to prevent additional injury in the initial days after an accident. Collars are often worn for 1-2 weeks, depending on the severity of the whiplash and your doctor’s recommendation. Limiting physical exertion also helps avoid any movements that could strain the already damaged muscles and tendons in your neck.
This could mean taking time off work if your job requires physical labor or movement. Your doctor may even recommend reducing activities at home, like cleaning, that involve repeated neck motion or lifting. The less strain placed on the injured whiplash area, the more quickly it can heal and recover.
Medications May Be Needed
Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can alleviate soreness and inflammation. If those aren’t effective, a doctor may prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxers to address pain and spasms. Narcotic pain medications are avoided due to risks.
While OTC pain relievers should be the first choice, some patients with moderate to severe whiplash find these inadequate for managing their neck pain. In those cases, physicians may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications like Naproxen or Celebrex. These two options may be better to reduce swelling and discomfort.
Another option is steroid injections into the neck to decrease inflammation in the whiplash-affected area directly. For acute muscle spasms and stiffness, muscle relaxants can relieve whiplash symptoms but can cause drowsiness. Doctors usually prescribe minimal doses of medications for the shortest duration that effectively manages whiplash symptoms.
Physical Therapy Plays a Major Role in Treating Whiplash Injuries
Physical therapy (PT) involves exercises to restore range of motion, strengthen muscles, improve posture, and decrease pain. Stretching tight areas and massage techniques also relax muscles. Ultrasound, cold and heat therapy, and electrical stimulation may provide additional relief.
Your physical therapist will customize your exercise program to address the muscles impacted by your whiplash injury. They often begin with gentle stretches and range of motion exercises to improve flexibility without overexerting the neck. As pain and inflammation subside, targeted strengthening exercises are added to rebuild muscle function.
Your physical therapist may use techniques like massage and trigger point release to relax tight neck muscles. Often, they will use heat packs, ice, ultrasound, and TENS units to relieve whiplash pain and spasms. It is important to go to each appointment and perform home exercises to make progress in whiplash recovery.
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Potential Complications to Monitor After Whiplash Injuries
Most whiplash injuries resolve on their own with a bit of rest. However, you should watch out for certain serious complications that may occur. Being aware of concerning symptoms and promptly seeking medical care is vital.
One uncommon but potentially dangerous complication is vertebral artery dissection, where forces from the neck hyperextending can tear the inner lining of the vertebral artery. If blood clots form around the arterial tear, it can obstruct critical blood flow to the brain. This can result in stroke-like symptoms.
In rare cases, the extreme forces involved in whiplash may also fracture or dislocate cervical vertebrae, compromising the spinal cord. Symptoms like tingling, weakness, or paralysis can indicate a spinal cord injury requiring emergency surgical treatment. Some patients sustain a concussion along with whiplash trauma during the accident.
When an Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
Dealing with insurance companies can be intimidating after a whiplash injury accident, especially if they are trying to deny your claim. It is common for insurers to deny reasonable claims or delay approval of treatment. Certain strategies can help overcome issues with insurers.
If your insurance provider denies coverage for whiplash treatment unfairly, do not take no for an answer. Consulting with an attorney about the best strategies to appeal the decision is important. Providing additional medical records, letters from your doctor justifying the treatment, and legal arguments from your lawyer can often overturn improper denials.
Insurance agencies may delay approving doctor-prescribed treatment plans or drag out the claims process unnecessarily. This can seriously affect your recovery. If delays persist, getting a judge involved by filing a bad faith complaint may be warranted if the insurer fails to pay justified claims promptly.
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Let BDIW Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
If you were injured and experienced whiplash or another type of injury in a car accident, having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side is critical. At BDIW, our compassionate car accident lawyers have helped countless clients protect their rights and obtain compensation after crashes. We are eager to help you do the same so you can get your life back on track and feel better again.
Our team will handle the complicated legal process so you can focus on recovery. You should never go through this process alone. Call today for a free consultation to discuss your case in a no-obligation, confidential setting.
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