You were rear-ended, and you thought that you probably suffered from whiplash. You took the ambulance to the hospital and had your suspicions confirmed. You thought that it wouldn't be very serious.
People get whiplash all the time, and most people believe that it's a minor injury that clears up within a few days. That is the case for some people, but it's not true for everyone.
What is whiplash?
Whiplash happens when your head and neck move forward quickly and snap back. It can also happen if your head moves from side to side quickly.
When this happens, the ligaments, tendons and muscles strain. It's also possible to suffer a brain injury as a secondary complication as your brain is likely to impact the skull as it whips forward and back.
Is whiplash a serious injury?
In some cases, whiplash is minor. In others, it's a serious injury that requires ongoing medical care. Damage to the bones and soft tissues make the neck sore, causes nerve pain and results in other issues.
Most people involved in minor traffic accidents recover from whiplash without any long-lasting symptoms. They may have only suffered from a minor case of whiplash, which explains a shorter recovery period. For those in serious crashes, it's more likely that they will have chronic symptoms for some time following the collision. Physiological injuries do well with therapy, fortunately, so physical therapy does help many patients reduce chronic pain and nerve issues over time.
Whiplash also leads to depression and anxiety in some patients. This calls for ongoing treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on the situation. Anxiety and depression occur because of pain, the impact of the injury on the individual's life and other circumstances out of the patient's control.
Whiplash isn't always serious, but when it is, it's life-changing. Individuals need to seek medical help to understand how to recover.