What To Do When After-Car-Accident Neck Pain Persists

April 14, 2024

By Promoting Justice

Several injuries can result after a car accident, including injuries to the neck. In fact, neck injuries are one of the most commonly treated injuries after a crash. Neck pain after a car accident can signal substantial bodily harm. If not identified and treated proactively, a neck injury can worsen over time. The costs of medical care for treating injuries and lost time from work can add up quickly. In some cases, after a car accident, the injured party may be able to file a personal injury claim to help with those expenses. If you or a loved one is experiencing car accident neck pain in Vermont, New Hampshire, or Florida, consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney from Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer. Call (802) 457-4848 to learn more.

What Is Whiplash?

Car accidents can cause significant bodily harm and even death to those who are involved. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that automobile accidents are the leading reason behind the loss of life in individuals up to age 54. In 2017 alone, there were just under three million people injured in motor vehicle crashes, and many of those have experienced car accident neck pain that is generally diagnosed as whiplash. Whiplash can occur in any accident that causes a person’s head to move quickly forward and backward. A whiplash injury is a common result of a car accident due to the force of impact associated with the crash. This type of injury often involves stretching or tearing of muscles, joints, nerves, ligaments, and more around the neck.

Common Symptoms Associated With Whiplash

Whiplash is not an injury that should be ignored. Instead, it should be identified and treated quickly. However, the symptoms of whiplash injuries sometimes do not show up right away. Hours or days may go by before an accident victim realizes that he or she may have suffered a whiplash injury. Because of this, unfortunately, car accident victims sometimes refrain from seeking medical attention after a crash, unless they have other injuries.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine Some of the most common symptoms of a whiplash injury include:

  • Dizziness
  • Stiffness or tenderness in the neck 
  • Vision disturbances
  • Inability to concentrate or trouble with memory
  • Pain and discomfort in the neck, lower back, shoulder, arms, or hands
  • Muscle fatigue and weakness
  • Numbness in the arms or hands
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Irritability and sleeplessness
  • Lethargy

How Long Does Neck Pain Last After a Car Accident?

Many people who experience neck pain after being involved in a car accident recover within a few weeks. However, some people will experience pain from their whiplash injuries for months and even years after the accident. According to the Mayo Clinic, the more intense the initial symptoms—severe neck pain, limited range of motion, pain that spreads to the arms—the more likely the injured party will suffer longer as the body takes longer to heal. Additionally, the following factors increase a person’s risk of having a more difficult healing process:

  • Previously having a whiplash injury
  • Having low back or neck pain prior to the accident
  • Being older
  • Being involved in a high-speed accident

Can Neck Pain Heal by Itself?

Some whiplash injuries may heal on their own over time. However, when experiencing neck pain after a car accident, it is important to seek medical care to confirm whether it is simple soreness or more serious tissue damage, as well as the extent of the injuries involved. Neck pain from whiplash can be persistent and potentially debilitating. The pain and discomfort can greatly reduce the injured party’s quality of life. In addition, since there is only a limited amount of time to take legal action to pursue compensation if the accident was caused by another party, delayed treatment may jeopardize the injured party’s ability to file a claim.

Treating Neck Pain

The sooner a neck injury is diagnosed, the sooner the injured party can receive appropriate medical treatment. Treatment for whiplash can improve the healing and recovery process and help to prevent the injury from becoming worse. Treatments for neck pain can include a combination of a homecare routine and medical treatment. Some of the strategies that a medical professional may recommend to help healing progress after a whiplash injury include the following:

  • Apply ice to the neck for as many as 15 minutes to reduce inflammation. Repeat in intervals throughout the day.
  • To promote blood circulation and relax muscle tissue, use a heating pad or take a hot bath, which can minimize pain.
  • Take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, and other over-the-counter pain relievers as directed to ease the pain and discomfort.
  • Use a neck collar or brace for a limited period of time to provide additional support while the injury heals. While helpful, this option should not be used for the long term because doing so can weaken muscles and tendons in the neck.
  • Get a massage.
  • Take prescribed muscle relaxers or prescription painkillers, as directed.
  • See a physical therapist for specific exercises and movements that can promote healing.
  • Sleep straight on the back instead of the side.
  • See a qualified pain specialist for treatment.

The medical treatment necessary for neck injuries can be expensive. Add that to taking time off work to recover, which can lead to lost wages. These losses can be a heavy burden to the victim of a car accident. Monetary compensation can help offset those damages. A personal injury attorney at Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer may be able to help injured parties claim compensation when their car accident neck pain is the result of an at-fault driver’s negligence.

Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Car accident neck pain is something that should not be ignored. While some individuals may recover in a few weeks, others may not experience relief from symptoms for many months. Obtaining compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, vehicle repairs, and missed wages can be an essential part of the recovery process for many accident victims. Filing a personal injury claim may be the right approach. If you or a loved one has suffered a whiplash injury and would like more information about the claims process, consider contacting a personal injury attorney from Shillen Mackall Seldon & Spicer by calling (802) 457-4848 to schedule a complimentary consultation.