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Should you take whiplash injury seriously?

As a parent visiting your college student in Pennsylvania, you have to traverse some crowded and potentially risky roads. The speed limit around Penn State is not set high, but getting into a crash here can still result in serious injuries.

One such injury you may suffer from is whiplash. You may have heard rumors that whiplash is not a serious injury, but this could not be further from the truth.

What causes whiplash?

Mayo Clinic looks at whiplash injuries, which often occur after a crash. A whiplash injury happens after you suffer from “forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck”. The namesake of the injury comes from the movement being reminiscent of a whip strike.

You are most likely to suffer from this injury if you got rear-ended. Though whiplash is sometimes called a neck strain or sprain, those terms are umbrellas that cover other injuries as well. Whiplash injury has the potential to last for weeks, months or even years. You may suffer from chronic neck pain or other physical complications because of it.

What range of symptoms should you expect?

The symptoms of severe whiplash sometimes mimic symptoms that head injury victims suffer from. This can include sleep disturbances, irritability, memory problems and depression. You may struggle to concentrate. You could also have blurry vision and ringing in your ears.

More mild symptoms include headaches, neck pain or stiffness, and tenderness in the affected areas. You may struggle with numbness or tingling. You may also lose some range of motion in your neck.

Whiplash injuries often heal within weeks as long as you follow a treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. Without this plan, recovery takes months or years and can even heal improperly, resulting in lifelong problems.