Is it Whiplash or Something Else?

Have you been suffering from chronic pain and been told “It’s only whiplash.”? Have you been told “You just need to get over it.”? If so, be sure you visit a doctor that knows how to fully evaluate acute spinal and soft tissue injuries to get a complete diagnosis. Your pain may be from a more serious condition called “ligament laxity”, and leaving your injury undiagnosed or misdiagnosed will only impede your recovery.

Our spine consists of joints (vertebrae), and ligaments that hold those joints in their proper place and allow them to function as intended. While the ligaments are capable of withstanding a great amount of movement and force, sometimes the force of a car, truck or motorcycle accident is just too much for them. When your spinal ligaments experience too much force, those ligaments can become overstretched and injured. It’s similar to an overstretched rubber-band that loses part of its elasticity. This is called ligament laxity. Symptoms can include neck pain, numbness or tingling in the neck, arms and hands, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and many other symptoms not traditionally associated with a neck injury. You may also feel sharp shooting pains.

Ligament laxity often masquerades at first as minor whiplash, but is much more severe. Suffering from whiplash can be painful but will typically improve in a few months and allow you to fully recover. However, with ligament laxity, you may not be able to fully recover and likely cannot improve without an accurate diagnosis and specific treatment. The severity of the impact of ligament laxity on your health ranges from chronic pain interfering with daily activities to, in the most serious cases, spinal cord compression and possible paralysis.

Ligament Laxity is a permanent injury. While the condition may never fully “go away”, treatment can help improve the condition, manage your pain, and help you return to many of your daily activities. Treatment can vary from patient to patient but some treatments can include natural therapy to strengthen the muscles around the ligaments, prolotherapy injections, and surgical fusion. Because ligament laxity is a permanent condition, your treatment may be very different from how a doctor would treat whiplash. This is why it’s important to get the right diagnosis as early as possible. The sooner you diagnose the problem, the more likely a doctor will be able to treat you correctly to minimize or avoid chronic pain.

Just as getting a proper diagnosis early on is important for your health and recovery, it is also crucial to your personal injury claim. As you might imagine, the future cost of dealing with a permanent injury could be much more expensive than treatment for minor whiplash. If you settle or close your case believing you have whiplash when your injuries are actually more severe, you may be missing out on money that you could use to pay for your future needs.

We’re experienced in handling cases involving ligament laxity. Getting a correct diagnosis as soon after the injury as possible is always important. If you have questions about this topic or your condition, please give us a call.