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  1. #1
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    Default Whiplash, Anyone?

    Hey guys.

    Reader's Digest version: I got into a pretty serious car accident on January 25th... it totaled the car I had just bought literally a week prior to that day, almost down to the hour. Crazy. Anyway, I went to the ER later that night, as I developed a nasty headache and some issues involving memory and inability to "find my words" in the ensuing post-accident hours; and I was concerned that I may have had a concussion.

    ER Dx: no concussion, just whiplash. Looking at the damage to my car, I know that I'm very fortunate to have walked away with only whiplash and some nasty bruises. I'd post pictures here, but I am not a premium member; and I don't really want to share my Facebook album publicly.


    I don't know about the "no concussion" Dx, but I'm not a doctor, either; so whatever.

    Anyway, the ER doctor and nurse explained that I would experience generalized body pain for several weeks. I know it's only been 12 days since the wreck, but the pain in my neck is getting worse, and spreading to my right shoulder and down my spine.

    I am planning on going to see an orthopedic specialist for a follow-up; but due to the gross ineptness of my insurance claims adjuster, that has to wait until he contacts the medical claims department of the insurance company (another long story, which I won't get into because it's too early in the morning to have my blood pressure go through the roof).

    So in the interim, I'm looking to hear from those of you who have had whiplash in the past, and to find out how long it lasted for you. I know that everybody's story is different, and isn't necessarily a gauge by which to measure or project my own healing timeline. But I would still find it helpful.

    Thanks, y'all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Martha Drum View Post
    ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.



  2. #2
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    I can't recall how long it lasted, but I had upper back and neck pain for awhile - months. I think physical therapy would have really helped. I also got so tight and stiff that I got tension headaches. I went to the Dr and he did a chiropractic adjustment and that cured the headaches. I think he also gave me muscle relaxants.

    I highly recommend seeing an Orthopedist or talking to your Dr about a referral.

    I do know someone who had a spinal concussion (?) from whiplash without actually hitting anything. She had to do PT for awhile. But it was pretty severe, with numbness and pain radiating down her arms.

    I cannot recommend PT enough. And harassing your insurance co! Harass your agent, too, if you have one. You pay them a lot of money for this!

    Good luck.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  3. #3
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    It most likely will never 100% go away.
    It's like a horse with a bowed tendon. Once that connective tissue gets violently stretched it can never be the same again.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
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  4. #4
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    I totaled my car almost 3 years ago in a three car highway accident. I was extremely lucky to walk away with only whiplash, bruising from the seat belt and and abrasion from the airbag. Went to the ER right away and the diagnosed whiplash and prescribed me some pain meds that I never used.

    My neck, shoulders and upper back were sore for no more than a week, I can't remember exactly but it wasn't long at all.

    About a week after my accident a girl I worked with had one also. Same thing, whiplash and some minor bruising. She was out of work for several months and in physio therapy and tons of doctor visits until she was able to sit at a desk for a full day of work or even drive her car again.

    It really depends on the person, the type of accident, how your body was torqued, etc. On paper two people may both have whiplash, but their circumstances and conditions can vary drastically making their injuries very, very different.



  5. #5
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    I have had whiplash twice after 2 accidents, one severe that also totalled the car.

    Depends on the person, for sure. I am hyper mobile and my muscles did not "hold" my spine in place because of my flexibility, so I was pretty messed up for a few months.

    A chiro helped me much more than PT.



  6. #6
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    I got rear ended years ago. I definitely suggest massage therapy (not happy relaxation massage; I mean painful, beat you up kind of massage) and physiotherapy. I had to do both for 6 months after the accident. The massage helps break up any scar tissue or knots forming, and the physio helps renuild your torn muscles properly. No long-term effects from the accident for me



  7. #7
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    Default

    I would go in and have them check again, just on principle (and I also question the 'no concussion' as I've been whiplashed but had no memory or aphasia issues, just pain). Yes, it's going to keep hurting, but the spreading pain and getting WORSE would worry me. I hurt like crazy the next morning (after the second accident I knew enough to take them seriously and took a painkiller before bed so I could move when I got up), but while I still get neck pain, the pain got easier, not worse.

    Yeah, two accident in three years--one was relatively minor (a spinout on a curvy wet road that hit the guard rail--statie who responded said it was like the fourth one on that road that night, light rains on that road lift the oil and grease but don't wash it away) and the other came a quarter-inch from totaling the car. First case I walked to the ambulance, second they put my on a backboard and did a c-spine x-ray before letting me get up.



  8. #8
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    did they do any kind of x-ray? I would want them to look a little further into this, especially since you say the pain is moving.



  9. #9
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    I was rear-ended, truck totaled, whiplash and concussion. I had lots of pain, so was put on round-the clock Motrin which I developed an allergy to. My balance has been affected since then, which has affected my riding. I'm very sorry I settled with the insurance company. I got a new vehicle and $4k, not enough for what I've endured.....



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
    It most likely will never 100% go away.
    It's like a horse with a bowed tendon. Once that connective tissue gets violently stretched it can never be the same again.
    This is exactly what I've been thinking- and afraid of.

    Quote Originally Posted by ridethehide View Post
    It really depends on the person, the type of accident, how your body was torqued, etc. On paper two people may both have whiplash, but their circumstances and conditions can vary drastically making their injuries very, very different.
    Yeah, I know that. Which is what I said in my OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    I would go in and have them check again, just on principle (and I also question the 'no concussion' as I've been whiplashed but had no memory or aphasia issues, just pain). Yes, it's going to keep hurting, but the spreading pain and getting WORSE would worry me.
    If I were to go in for a follow-up, would they be able to find anything related to whether or not I had a concussion, this far after the fact? Just curious. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who questions the "no concussion" Dx- I thought I was being a hypochondriac when the doctor told me that there was no evidence of one (even though I couldn't remember most of the day prior to the time of the accident). Even now, I'm having memory issues, and a hard time remembering things, a really difficult time understanding things (even very simple things- it's honestly freaking me the hell out). I'm also having unreasonable, out-of-control mood swings... I go from feeling completely normal to being ambushed by bouts of crying for no reason, uncontrollable rage, and/or extreme sadness.

    I talked to the medical claims rep yesterday, and I will be going in for a follow-up as soon as I can to get my neck looked at again; and hopefully to figure out wtf is going on with my brain.

    Quote Originally Posted by KateKat View Post
    did they do any kind of x-ray? I would want them to look a little further into this, especially since you say the pain is moving.
    They didn't do any x-rays at the hospital, only CT scans

    Quote Originally Posted by HPFarmette View Post
    I'm very sorry I settled with the insurance company. I got a new vehicle and $4k, not enough for what I've endured.....
    I'm sorry to hear that, HPFarmette. My heart goes out to you. And I refuse to settle with my insurance company. I've already reached out to my friends, who have given me a recommendation for a pitbull of an attorney who will help me go after not only the insurance company, but anyone else who proves to be negligible in this entire situation. I'm not a litigous person; but I do believe in justice. I also believe in standing up for myself and not allowing "the system" to steamroll me just because they are bigger than I am. I may not make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, but I will sure as hell make an example out of them, and anybody else as necessary.

    Thank you all for your responses, suggestions and for sharing your stories. I'm sorry any of us have gone through these things.
    Quote Originally Posted by Martha Drum View Post
    ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.



  11. #11
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    Whiplash is a strain injury. The mild ones will go away in a couple of weeks, but it's not at all unusual for more severe cases to last longer, even months. No different than ankle strains or back strains.

    There is absolutely no way anyone can tell you at this point that it "most likely will never 100% go away". The vast majority of them resolve fully. Yes, of course there are those severe cases that lead to lifelong sequelae, but you're less than 2 weeks out and well in the period where you can expect ongoing symptoms from even a fairly mild case.



  12. #12
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    I was hit by a car a little over a year ago while crossing the street. I refused to go to the ER, and drove back home (3 hrs) to go to my chiro the next day. I assume I had a mild concussion (lack of emotion, forgetfulness, bad decision making for a while) but I definitely had whiplash. I hit my head twice, once on the car hood and once on the pavement.

    I would say while my whole body was hurt and bruised, the whiplash was most painful. I could not lift my head without using my hands. Once I was "upright" I was ok. My chiro worked on me for almost an hour. Even my worst riding accident adjustments only lasted 20-30 min. Normal adjustments lasted about 15 min. He said my skull was messed up and my arms (ESP left) had whiplash as well as my neck. It was probably the only painful experience I've had with my chiro, but I think it helped immensely.

    I felt "fragile" for a couple of months after. Back to normal now.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReeseTheBeast View Post
    If I were to go in for a follow-up, would they be able to find anything related to whether or not I had a concussion, this far after the fact? Just curious. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who questions the "no concussion" Dx- I thought I was being a hypochondriac when the doctor told me that there was no evidence of one (even though I couldn't remember most of the day prior to the time of the accident). Even now, I'm having memory issues, and a hard time remembering things, a really difficult time understanding things (even very simple things- it's honestly freaking me the hell out). I'm also having unreasonable, out-of-control mood swings... I go from feeling completely normal to being ambushed by bouts of crying for no reason, uncontrollable rage, and/or extreme sadness.
    For a follow-up where? ER? They can check that there are no fractures and give you pain meds. There is no imaging/test that will "prove" you can a concussion, even though to me too it sounds likely. Any doc can re-take your history and list of ongoing symptoms and diagnose a concussion retroactively, but ER is not the ideal place to go for that. Sports med specialists are getting really good at managing concussion and diagnosing post-concussion syndromes/mTBI, and down the road if the symptoms don't go away a neuropsych assessment is also an idea but it's too early for that (you're essentially still in the acute phase).



  14. #14
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    Thank you Reese, hope things turn out as well as possible for you.



  15. #15
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    Go see a good chiropractor!!!!

    we were in an accident just before Christmas, we got rear ended pretty hard! Twice! 3 car pile up. we all got whip lash and have been seeing the same chiro. He is great and we are all getting better now! but you can't go just once, keep going until the chiro says you're good.

    just got rear ended AGAIN on monday...im going back to chiro tomorrow.



  16. #16
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    Sorry to hear about all this. It's been a shitty time for you my dear. I have had whiplash for over a decade as a result of an accident in HS and it still bothers me occasionally to this day. I sometimes have so much tension in my neck that it feels like my head needs to shoot off my neck to get rid of it and I often get headaches and disorientation at the same time. It gets aggravated if I do things like ride roller coasters or drive for long periods of time, so it's no fun. From what you say, you definitely have some neurological problems as a result of this, some of which are common to accidents and you may also have some PTSD issues as a result of the accident, so get yourself a follow-up and don't take no for an answer unless it feels right to you.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have,
    at this moment, been thrown up from below!



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coanteen View Post
    For a follow-up where? ER? They can check that there are no fractures and give you pain meds. There is no imaging/test that will "prove" you can a concussion, even though to me too it sounds likely. Any doc can re-take your history and list of ongoing symptoms and diagnose a concussion retroactively, but ER is not the ideal place to go for that. Sports med specialists are getting really good at managing concussion and diagnosing post-concussion syndromes/mTBI, and down the road if the symptoms don't go away a neuropsych assessment is also an idea but it's too early for that (you're essentially still in the acute phase).
    Coanteen, that's what I'm not sure of- where to go for a follow-up... Of course I wouldn't go back to the ER, that would be nonsensical I was initially thinking that seeing an orthopedist would be the way to go, but I had never thought about a sports medicine specialist.

    I realize I'm still in the acute phase of all of this; so I also am not clear as to how long I should 'wait it out' before getting a follow-up, how long I should wait before making the decision to see a neuropsych (which I've actually never heard of- you're a treasure trove of information!). In other words, I guess I'm trying to find out how long is "too long" to be experiencing any of these symptoms (physical, mental); which would indicate the need for further evaluations.


    Quote Originally Posted by HPFarmette View Post
    Thank you Reese, hope things turn out as well as possible for you.
    Thank you HPFarmette (((hugs))) to you, my dear.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Go see a good chiropractor!!!!

    we were in an accident just before Christmas, we got rear ended pretty hard! Twice! 3 car pile up. we all got whip lash and have been seeing the same chiro. He is great and we are all getting better now! but you can't go just once, keep going until the chiro says you're good.

    just got rear ended AGAIN on monday...im going back to chiro tomorrow.
    Tobias, holy shit!!!! I'm so sorry to hear about your accidents; and can't believe you just got rear-ended again!!! That is HORRIBLE!! (((hugs))) to you too... I hope you're doing ok.


    Quote Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post
    Sorry to hear about all this. It's been a shitty time for you my dear. I have had whiplash for over a decade as a result of an accident in HS and it still bothers me occasionally to this day. I sometimes have so much tension in my neck that it feels like my head needs to shoot off my neck to get rid of it and I often get headaches and disorientation at the same time. It gets aggravated if I do things like ride roller coasters or drive for long periods of time, so it's no fun. From what you say, you definitely have some neurological problems as a result of this, some of which are common to accidents and you may also have some PTSD issues as a result of the accident, so get yourself a follow-up and don't take no for an answer unless it feels right to you.
    Thanks, Lex (as always). And yes, it's been a shitty time for me indeed... Tragic, because I really had high hopes for 2013, seeing how so many things in my life have been in need of VAST improvement since... oh, 2010!

    It's funny, I've sat down to write you a PM at least 10 times in the last month or so, but have had so much going on (even before the accident) that I kept getting side-tracked and never got around to finishing any of them. I actually had one about 75% written out on Monday morning, but then didn't get a chance to finish it before I got innundated with work (and my lurking boss, haha).

    Thank you for sharing your story with me. Although I hate that you have gone/are going through all of this; it does make me feel like I'm not going completely insane to know that someone else knows what I'm talking about and is experiencing/has experienced these issues too (not just the physical problems associated with whiplash; but also the neuro & psychological ones). I'm just so sorry that you are dealing with all of that. I had no idea.

    As far as the PTSD, I must admit that I have been secretly thinking about that being part of what's going on with me, but have never said it out loud. I didn't want to come across as a melodramatic queen, so I've not talked about it before until now- but ever since the accident, I have been absolutely TERRIFIED of driving. Especially when I'm approaching an intersection (my accident occured at a very poorly designed one, and now all of them scare me). I find myself slowing down to an unreasonable (and quite frankly, unsafe) degree when driving up to one.

    Every morning before work, I experience a mini-anxiety attack and have to talk myself off that ledge so I can get on and get my ass to the office.

    This weekend, I have to go out of town for work; and of course have to drive to the location... which is about 3 hours away. I started freaking out about the drive on Wednesday, and despite working really hard to "think my way out of it," the anxiety is growing, especially as my departure date draws near.

    I hope that in time, this anxiety and fear of driving will pass. It would also be nice if my cognitive function would return to normal and for things to start making sense again! And of course, I wish that this pain would just go the F away.

    Anyone else thinking about a COTH Whiplash Support Group?
    Last edited by ReeseTheBeast; Feb. 8, 2013 at 08:27 AM. Reason: to correct Coanteen's name!
    Quote Originally Posted by Martha Drum View Post
    ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.



  18. #18
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    Here is the gold standard for grading whiplash:

    Quebec task force whiplash grades:
    Grade 0: – No neck pain, stiffness, and no physical signs of neck injury.
    Grade 1: – Neck complaint consisting of pain, stiffness or tenderness only, no physical signs of neck injury.
    Grade 2: – Neck complaint and musculoskeletal signs, such as decreased range of motion and point tenderness in the neck.
    Grade 3: – Neck complaint and neurological signs such as decreased or absent deep tendon reflexes, weakness and sensory deficits.
    Grade 4: – Neck complaint and fracture or dislocation, or injury to the spinal cord.

    Just based on the description, I'd guess you're a 2, especially if you have restricted ROM. The neuro complaints for Grade 3 are downstream from the cervical nerves. The complaints you have with memory/emotional lability are NOT typical of whiplash, any grade, and are probably concussion-related.

    For concussion, neuroimaging (head CT or MRI) is not recommended beyond the emergency phase (72 hours post-injury) except if the condition deteriorates or red flags are noted (red flags = signs you might be actively bleeding in the brain, like altered consciousness, repeat vomiting, dilated pupils, slurred speech, seizures, not recognizing people; basically if it looks stroke-like).

    Quote Originally Posted by ReeseTheBeast View Post
    As far as the PTSD, I must admit that I have been secretly thinking about that being part of what's going on with me, but have never said it out loud. I didn't want to come across as a melodramatic queen, so I've not talked about it before until now- but ever since the accident, I have been absolutely TERRIFIED of driving. Especially when I'm approaching an intersection (my accident occured at a very poorly designed one, and now all of them scare me). I find myself slowing down to an unreasonable (and quite frankly, unsafe) degree when driving up to one.

    Every morning before work, I experience a mini-anxiety attack and have to talk myself off that ledge so I can get on and get my ass to the office.
    You can't have PTSD. Not yet, at least. Symptoms within the first 4 weeks after the incident can be acute stress disorder; if they persist longer than 4 weeks the diagnosis can change to PTSD.

    But that's only IF you have ASD now. What you're experiencing with fear of driving and fear of that intersection in particular is completely a normal response and not "disordered" at all. The emotional lability is also quite normal after concussion. I wouldn't be stressing about possible future big-gun disorders at this early stage.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
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    Thank you, Coanteen.

    I agree, I would also guess my whiplash as Grade 2, based on the information you provided. And I also agree that the emotional stuff is not whiplash-related; but are likely due to concussion.

    I also agree that I'm not anywhere near the point of having PTSD from this accident (I do have the disorder, but it was Dx'd many, many years ago; based on entirely different events). I know that the current anxiety and fear I'm experiencing is normal... it would probably be a lot less 'normal' for me to not be experiencing these feelings (speaking for myself, of course- not everybody would react the same way I do to the any given circumstances; be it a car accident or some other event).

    And I just realized that I called you "Arcadien" in my last post, despite the fact that I had quoted you and was looking right at your name as I was typing... I'm sorry about that! *facepalm* Incidentally, that is just one example out of many, of the kind of cognitive "misfiring" I've been going through since the accident. Good lord, you should have seen me trying to make sense out of the dates on a calendar the other day. It was like a whole different language!

    I keep telling myself that "this too, shall pass," but then I forget what I'm talking to myself about; and what "this" is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Martha Drum View Post
    ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.



  20. #20
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    I think this thread jinxed me. I got rear ended AGAIN last night! ugh!
    AGAIN by someone in the medical industry (last time I was sandwiched between two medical students that knew each other). Thankfully we were all screeching to a halt (probably from the robbery taking place in the shopping center next to us), so I was braced against my seat and prepared to get hit.

    The police officer made it worth it though... omg, if I were single I would have taken him home! He was handsome, charming and flirtatious... nothing like the stereotypical cop.
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