Last Updated: 10/25/2023

The medical term for what is commonly known as "whiplash" is called a "cervical strain".  The cervical part of your body is your neck and strain basically means that the muscles and/or tendons have been injured.  Sometimes these injuries are so severe that the muscles and tendons will actually tear.  However, this tearing will not show up on an x-ray or physical examination performed by a medical provider.  Sometimes whiplash injuries to the neck can have long-term and devastating effects.  They can cause a permanent loss in the range of motion in the neck which will limit how far you can turn your neck to the sides and up and down, they can cause debilitating neck pain and stiffness which can lead to headaches and in some severe cases, loss of use of your hands, arms and legs.  Whiplash injuries may seem minor at first but can result in a lifetime full of medical problems. 


Whiplash injuries can occur in several different ways including car accidents, work injuries, falls and other personal injury accidents.  A percentage of whiplash injuries will heal within a few weeks or months following an accident, but it is very important that you seek medical care immediately.  Failing to seek medical care will not only result in your condition not being properly treated but can also have a negative impact on a personal injury claim that you may bring later on.  If you wait days or weeks before seeking medical care and attention after an accident, the value of your claim can go down because you waited.  Therefore, it is always best to be treated right away following an injury from an accident. 

How to Treat Whiplash

Treatment for whiplash injuries can include physical therapy, chiropractic care, prescription and over the counter medications, injections, radiofrequency denervations or ablations, facet blocks, nerve blocks, ice, heat, stretching, massage, etc.  Our experience is that the quicker that you are treated for whiplash, the better off you will be and the chances of you having a permanent injury are decreased. 


Along the same lines, if you are treating for whiplash it is important that you attend your medical appointments as scheduled.  If you "no-show" or miss appointments this will not only increase your healing time but once again will make you look bad.  If you do have to change an appointment, you should try to call the day before or at least a few hours before in order to reschedule.  Another issue is what is called gaps in treatment.  If you go to your doctor who prescribes physical therapy, but you don't start physical therapy to treat your whiplash for several weeks, then this can damage your case.  The insurance adjuster, judge or eventually a jury may think if he/she was hurting so bad why did they take so long before starting therapy? 


This same issue also applies to situations where your medical provider says I don't have anything else to offer you for your whiplash injury.  If you are still having problems and issues at that time the doctor releases you, then you should seek additional medical care.  This can be a referral to pain management, a psychiatrist, a chiropractor, more physical therapy, etc.  However, keep in mind that there are some doctors who will not be able to treat your whiplash and may say there is "no objective" evidence of injury and will basically accuse you of faking your injury.  This is why it is important to talk to a qualified personal injury attorney before just going to any doctor for your whiplash condition.  An experienced injury attorney can help guide you away from some doctors (often time neurologists will have nothing to offer you, but may cause severe damage to your case) and towards other doctors who they have seen firsthand provide help to their clients.  Often times your family doctor will not think of or know about specialists such as physiatrists (also known as physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors) whose job is to treat and deal with chronic pain sometimes caused by whiplash injuries.  Even within specialists who treat whiplash injuries, there are some doctors who are more likely to say what the insurance company wants them to say instead of the truth about you and your injuries.  It is critical not only to your treatment but to your case that you avoid insurance company doctors.  We can help you with this in your Iowa injury matter.      

Who Should I Contact After an Injury?

We offer Iowans who have sustained whiplash injuries a detailed book which covers injuries caused by car accidents, work injuries and other personal injury matters.  Our book is available to you at no cost or obligation and reveals 8 Common Mistakes Made in Iowa personal injury cases. Our book not only tells you how you can avoid common mistakes but gives you advice when it comes to dealing with your medical providers, seeking medical care, etc.  We will also tell you whether or not we think you need an attorney in your case.  That is correct.  You may not even need an attorney because in some cases frankly, the attorney will take a percentage of what you probably can get on your own.  However, if your whiplash injury is serious and does not get better within a few weeks you should consider finding the best personal injury attorney for you and your case.  Not all Iowa injury attorneys are the same and it can be difficult for you to distinguish between those with real experience and those who are just advertising that they are experienced.  Our book covers what you should look for and how to find the best attorney for you and your personal injury case. 


If you have questions or concerns about your injury matter feel free to call our office at (641) 792-3595 and ask to speak with one of our attorneys.  Our attorneys are top rated by Google, and other attorney rating sites.  We provide you with a personal injury evaluation at no cost or risk.  If one of our attorneys is not immediately available then ask to schedule a phone conference so we have a set time and date to discuss your matter.  We have 4 main offices in Central Iowa (Des Moines, Ankeny, Newton, and Marshalltown) and several by appointment only offices throughout the State of Iowa, but if you are not local to us, we will come to you. 
Corey Walker
Connect with me
With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.