Why is whiplash so common in RTA’s and can it be prevented guide, Vehicle safety tips, Online car H&S advice
Why Is Whiplash So Common In RTA’s And Can It Be Prevented?
29 April 2022
Although whiplash can be caused in a number of different circumstances, one of the most common causes is due to being involved in a road traffic accident. Unfortunately, it’s also an injury that can go unnoticed until it begins to cause real pain and discomfort. While it’s easy to spot injuries that are bleeding or where bones are broken, whiplash isn’t always so obvious, especially straight after the accident.
If you’ve suffered whiplash in a road accident it’s really important to, first of all, get medical treatment and then consider whether compensation might be due. It’s likely that you’ll need time off work, there may be costs associated with medical treatment and you may need help around the home. So, if the incident was caused through the negligence of another person, then the next step is to get legal advice to help you consider if a claim for compensation would be appropriate.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a type of neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly and forcefully jerked forward or backward. The sudden movement causes the neck muscles and ligaments to stretch beyond their normal range of motion. This can damage the vertebrae, discs, and other soft tissues in the neck.
Whiplash is most commonly seen in car accidents, but it can also occur during sports injuries, falls, and other trauma. The symptoms of whiplash may not appear immediately after the injury occurs. It may take several hours or even days for symptoms to develop.
Common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Worsening of pre-existing neck pain
In some cases, whiplash can also cause nerve damage. This can lead to numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms and hands. Whiplash is a serious injury that can have long-term effects. If you think you may have whiplash, it is important to see a doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment.
What Causes the Worst Cases of Whiplash?
A number of risk factors have been identified that have been linked to a worse outcome following whiplash injuries. These include:
- Having had whiplash before
- Being of an older age
- Already having lower back or neck pain
- Being involved in a high-speed injury
What Treatment Does Whiplash Need?
Most people with whiplash will recover within a few weeks with home treatment. However, some people may have long-term problems.
Home treatment for whiplash includes:
Rest: You may need to take it easy for a few days or weeks after the injury. This means avoiding activities that put strain on your neck, such as lifting heavy objects.
Ice: Apply ice to your neck for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. This can help reduce pain and swelling.
Pain relief: Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Heat: After the first few days, you can try using heat on your neck. This can help reduce stiffness.
If your symptoms do not improve with home treatment, you may need to see a doctor or visit Accidents and Emergencies at your local hospital. Your doctor can prescribe stronger pain relievers and may recommend physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat whiplash.
How Is Whiplash Caused?
Whiplash is most commonly caused by car accidents. When two vehicles collide, the impact can cause the passengers’ heads to snap forward or backward suddenly. This can stretch or tear the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Whiplash can also occur during sports injuries, falls, and other trauma.
One of the most common types of accidents to cause whiplash is rear-end collission. This is when one vehicle hits the back of another vehicle. The force of the impact can cause the passengers in the front vehicle to have their heads jerked forward or backward suddenly. This can lead to stretching or tearing of the muscles and ligaments in the neck, resulting in whiplash.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Whiplash?
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of whiplash.
Wear a seatbelt
When driving, always wear a seatbelt. Not only is it a legal requirement in most parts of the world but it can also help protect you in the event of an accident. A seatbelt will help to keep your body in the seat and reduce the risk of your head being thrown forward or backward.
Adjust your headrest
Few of us think about adjusting the headrest when we get into a car, but it’s there to protect your neck should there be an accident. It does this by keeping your head and neck in alignment if you are involved in a collision. The correct positioning of the headrest should be level with the top of your head, or as close to it as possible.
Check your blind spot
When you are changing lanes, always check your blind spots before moving. This will help you avoid any potential accidents.
Always be aware of what other drivers around you are doing. If someone is tailgating you or driving erratically, give them space and do not engage. Defensive driving can help you avoid many accidents.
When you get too close to another car, you increase the risk of an accident. If the car in front of you stops suddenly, you could rear-end them, causing whiplash.
While there is no guarantee that you will never get into an accident, following these tips can help reduce your risk. If you do find yourself involved in an accident, be sure to see a doctor right away to check for any injuries.
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