A mild traumatic brain injury or mild TBI can occur even if you are not hit on the head directly. Whiplash is an example of something that often causes mild TBIs. This type of injury happens when the brain is quickly and forcefully thrown within the skull. Every year, more than 3 million Americans suffer from whiplash injuries. About half of them experience chronic pain, while 10% of them will become permanently disabled.
Although whiplash injuries may be invisible, they have the potential to become severe. The effects may last for months and even years. In some cases, people may suffer from chronic pain. Even mild cases of whiplash can affect an individual’s daily life, bringing debilitating discomfort that is impossible to ignore.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash is an injury caused by an indirect force that jolts the brain back and forth, disrupting brain function. It is a closed head injury that takes place inside the skull. Typical whiplash injuries are one of the leading causes of mild traumatic brain injury or concussions. People suffering from whiplash may also be at an increased risk for more serious traumatic brain injuries.
Whiplash can result in diffuse axonal injuries, which are the hallmark of a mild traumatic brain injury. These injuries can cause memory or concentration problems, cognitive deficits, and personality changes in an individual.
Diffuse axonal injuries brought by whiplash cannot be detected by standard MRI or CT scans. However, this does not mean that they are not serious brain injuries.
Common Causes of Whiplash Injuries
Most whiplash injuries are commonly associated with car accidents, particularly rear-end vehicle collisions. They occur whenever the head or body undergoes a sudden jerking motion.
Whiplash can also injure bones in your spine, disks between your bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues of the neck.
Aside from automobile accidents, other common causes of whiplash may include the following:
- Motorcycle or bicycle crashes
- Trip and fall accidents
- Horse riding accident
- Domestic violence
- Physical abuse or assault
- Contact sports accidents
- Injuries from amusement park rides
- A heavy object causing sudden blows to the neck or body
An important thing to keep in mind is that whiplash, mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions do not necessarily require a direct impact on the head. They can result from any situation that involves the head suddenly moving in any direction. The movements can be backward or sideways and not just forward motions.
Symptoms of Whiplash and Mild TBI
Those suffering from whiplash may experience symptoms associated with a mild traumatic brain injury. These symptoms can range from mild to quite severe. While injuries from whiplash and mild TBI can occur in minor accidents, they can still lead to severe long-term medical problems.
The most common symptoms of brain injuries, which can occur along with the long-term effects of whiplash, may include the following:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Neck stiffness
- Tingling and numbness in the upper extremity
- Weakness in the lower extremity
- Increased sensitivity to noise or light
- Trouble with attention spans, such as dividing focus or multitasking
- Poor concentration
- Disorganized or scattered communication skills
- Psychosocial problems
- Impaired ability to process information
- Impaired or slow reaction time
- Reduced or diminished IQ
- Mood changes
If you or someone you love has sustained a whiplash injury, you should immediately seek treatment for the physical aspect of the injury. More importantly, you should look out for any cognitive deficits that may occur after an accident.
Whiplash victims may sometimes experience persistent post-concussion syndrome following an initial traumatic brain injury. This condition can complicate and lengthen the recovery period.
Any trauma or brain injury that involves the head and neck structures may lead to post-concussion syndrome. However, the risk factors are usually not associated with the severity of the initial mild traumatic brain injury. Post-concussion symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, and changes in mood.
These symptoms can generally last from a few weeks to months. However, they can also escalate into more serious health problems if left untreated.
How We Can Help You
Like any other traumatic brain injury, whiplash has life-altering effects on an individual. This particular case will require medical specialists and an experienced lawyer who understands these types of injuries.
Our legal team at DRZ Law Firm has handled many cases regarding whiplash and mild traumatic brain injuries. If you have been harmed due to someone’s recklessness, we are here to provide assistance. Get in touch with us to know your options.