One of the most common and most misunderstood personal injuries is whiplash. About one million Americans get whiplash each year from car accidents alone. However, whiplash is also a common injury which results from pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, sports injuries, aviation accidents, and other accidents. About 25% of whiplash patients will suffer from severe pain and another 10% of patients will sustain whiplash that results in a long-term disability. In about 15% of all whiplash cases, patients continue to have symptoms three years or more after the original injury.
As these statistics show, few personal injuries cause the suffering and pain that whiplash cause. Despite this, though, many people see whiplash as a “minor” injury. Certainly many insurance providers describe it this way when they may have to pay for someone’s whiplash treatment! In addition, even physicians sometimes puzzle over this injury, simple because there is so little concrete research about it. Some people even claim that whiplash does not really exist!
Unfortunately, whiplash is all too real and for many patients it is a long struggle. For many patients, whiplash takes place when the head is whipped suddenly and violently at an awkward angle or in an awkward direction. Researchers believe that whiplash affects the soft tissues in the neck, but unfortunately this is a problem when it comes to diagnosis. Since it is a soft tissue injury, whiplash does not present clearly on MRIs or X-rays, traditional diagnostic tools used for other head injuries and neck injuries. Many people are misdiagnosed as a result and many patients are frustrated because they have no proof to show insurance companies when making a claim.
Worse, whiplash tends to manifest very differently in different patients and medical science simply does not know why. Some patients experience pain immediately after getting an injury while others go for hours or days, unaware of the injury. Symptoms can also vary widely. For some patients, dizziness, back pain, shoulder pain, or lack of mobility are issues. For other patients, stiffness and shooting pain are common symptoms. Since the array of symptoms are so varied and vague, it is easy for healthcare professionals to misdiagnose whiplash.
The results of whiplash can be all to real. Some patients have trouble focusing and concentrating. Many are in so much pain and suffer from such a lack of mobility that they lose income and must take time away from their job. Many patients have trouble getting diagnosed correctly and must visit many doctors for help. Of course, many insurance providers are skeptical about whiplash claims, especially without any evidence via MRIs or X-rays.