The effects of whiplash go far beyond simply having a pain in the neck. Pain and inflammation from the injury could cause additional medical conditions to develop. Although the average healing time of a whiplash injury is a couple months, complications could extend your journey to recovery even further. In addition, severe complications could possibly leave you with lasting damage. Here are a few conditions your doctor will watch out for while you heal.
Dizziness and Vertigo
Cervical spine compression can possibly affect the flow of blood from your heart to your brain. The result of reduced blood flow is serious dizziness and vertigo while sitting or standing. Vertigo affects up to half of all whiplash patients, so your chances of developing these systems are high.
All you can do once dizziness kicks in is lie down and hope it goes away. As a result, your work and home life could suffer until these nagging symptoms go away. Your doctor might attempt to treat this condition with anti-inflammatory medications and the Epley maneuver.
Vocal Cord Paralysis
You have several major nerves running along the cervical spine in your neck. If inflamed muscles or joints pinch these nerves, you could develop vocal cord paralysis. If this happens, you could lose some of your vocal range or your entire voice altogether.
Doctors must perform a full laryngoscopy to rule out other conditions that paralyze the vocal cords to attribute the symptoms to your whiplash injury. Luckily, this condition tends to resolve on its own as your muscles and joints heal. You can speed up the healing process by attending regular massage and physical therapy appointments designed to reduce inflammation.
Severe pain levels from the whiplash injury may camouflage serious damage to the discs in your spine. Only when you do not heal in the expected amount of time will your doctor start to suspect the existence of a herniated disc.
Pressure from the protruding disc puts excess stress on your nerves and causes severe pain. Pain levels could continue to soar as the pressure causes even more inflammation. You will need an MRI to definitively diagnose this complex condition. Treatment might include anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and surgery, including spinal fusion.
Anxiety and Depression
As pain and stiffness takes over your life, you might develop symptoms of anxiety and depression. Anxiety often appears when faced with tasks that could increase your pain or lengthen healing time. Depression stems from your inability to participate in activities that enrich your life or define your personality. You may feel stripped of your hobbies, career or family life while you heal.
If the symptoms of these mental health conditions do not resolve as you heal, you can seek treatment from a therapist. You may need to change the way you think about your limitations or journey to better heath to eliminate anxious or depressed thoughts. If you still cannot recover, consider taking mood-altering medications for a short period of time.
Road To Recovery
To recover from the above complications, you will need to complete all of the additional treatments prescribed by your doctor and physical therapists. The treatments may include surgery, medications or exercises. You could even go to massage therapy to recover from the original whiplash injury faster while treating the complications at the same time.
Make sure to document your diagnoses and journey through treatment for your lawyer if you are seeking compensation for your injuries. Also, have your doctor prepare a statement about any lasting damage that sticks around after recovering. Your whiplash lawyer will need that information to help you obtain compensation for your injuries. Court officials need to review the documentation that proves your total amount of pain and suffering from the injuries.