Can whiplash lead to memory loss?

Personal injury claims due to whiplash are a common occurrence these days – with car accidents accounting for the majority of these. And, of course, the term whiplash is now universally understood as an injury related to the neck and shoulder area.

However, the reality is that symptoms of this painful injury can often affect the brain too. In fact it’s perhaps not as widely known that memory loss is often one of the symptoms of whiplash. But take a look at the medical evidence and that’s not really surprising.

There are two types of whiplash – acute and chronic (the latter involving symptoms that persist for six months or more) – with hyperextension and hyperflexion of the tendons and ligaments of the neck being the main cause of physical damage. When the neck is jolted forward and back rapidly and severely, the head is affected by this movement which can cause the brain to be subject to trauma.

Of course, thankfully, in most cases this isn’t life-threatening. But studies have shown that for some whiplash victims, a sharp jolt to the brain can lead to poor concentration, irritability and even memory loss (rather like an episode of concussion). Sometimes, the cause is not even directly linked to physical injury. The psychological trauma of being in a car accident can also manifest itself through periods of memory loss – causing some  sufferers to become quite distressed.

Fortunately, for most, symptoms fade over time as the brain’s natural healing processes take over. For some, the problems may prove more persistent. Either way, don’t take any chances at all.

Seeking immediate medical attention is vital in the event of whiplash – it’s at the top of your ‘to do’ list. Then of course, you can investigate whether you can make a whiplash injury claim – it won’t take away the distress of the accident, but it could provide some compensation.