21 Feb Steps to Take After Suffering Whiplash in a Motor Accident
Whiplash is one of the most common ailments people experience when in a motor accident – especially if someone has been rear-ended.
Let’s take a deeper look.
Whiplash is a general term that is thrown around at the first sign of any neck pain. It refers to a soft tissue injury that occurs when the head and neck are jarred outside of the normal range of motion. If you some of the below symptoms, you may have whiplash.
Whiplash can have both physical and psychological impacts, including:
- Neck pain and swelling
- Neck stiffness
- Tender back
- Muscle Spasms
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration/memory
- Nervousness or irritability
While some neck injuries caused by whiplash can heal quickly, other incidents can cause more serious conditions like Degenerative Disc Disease or a fracture/dislocation of the vertebra.
What to do after an accident if you have whiplash?
First and foremost, report your accident to ICBC within 24 hours of the accident occurring. It’s important to be as forthright as possible with ICBC.
Then, make sure to document any pain you are experiencing following the crash. Do routine activities now cause pain in the back and neck? Is this pain impacting your work? Questions like these will be asked by your lawyer if you choose to have legal representation.
ICBC has internal metrics around whiplash and injury claims. ICBC has set monetary value attached to different severities of injuries that they feel claimants will accept without the aid of a lawyer. For most people it’s their first-time experience whiplash; however, for ICBC they have handled thousands of these claims and have fine-tuned their claim amounts for unrepresented claimants. Injury lawyers ensure claimants receive fair settlements from ICBC to help offset the cost of current and future medical treatment. Soft tissue injuries are a tricky beast – sometimes the pain subsides after a couple months and other times the pain stays with people for much longer.
The appropriate treatment for whiplash will vary from person-to-person. However, the appropriate treatment will be laid out by your chiropractor after an initial chiropractic exam. If the initial exam reveals any suspicion that the injured soft tissues are ligaments (if damaged, could lead to long-term pain and disability), then a special X-ray (at the Whiplash Clinic in Langley) conducted with you moving your neck in all directions will be able to confirm this suspicion. After this is determined, treatment options range from muscle release/relaxation/stimulation treatment to chiropractic manipulation (gently moving the joint into the direction in which it’s been restricted) and sets of exercises (McKenzie exercises).
All-in-all, after you’ve been in a motor accident you should make sure to follow the advice of your lawyer and your doctor. They’re equipped to make sure you receive the best treatment possible and the fairest settlement from ICBC.
Written in tandem by Dr. Blaskovich and Wes Mussio.
Dr. Blaskovich is the founder of the Whiplash and Injury Clinic, with locations in Langley, BC, and Lynden, Washington. He is an English, Dutch, and Croatian speaking licensed chiropractor and podiatrist with international work experience in chiropractic, injury-evaluation, radiology, podiatry, neurology, orthopedics, injury rehabilitation, post-surgical rehabilitation, sports medicine, occupational health and medical teaching.
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