I am disabled and my wife is the main bread winner. I'm worried because she had a car accident about three months ago and she still doesn't seem back to normal. We can't afford for her to lose her job. I'm hoping the fact that her job doesn't require a lot of thought will hide the fact that she just isn't thinking right. Will she recover with a little more time?
Your wife may be suffering from a condition referred to as whiplash associated disorder or postwhiplash syndrome. This is a common problem after a rear-end collision in which the neck is strained from a fast forward-backward head movement. Muscle soreness is common for a few days after such an injury. But neck pain can persist for months to even years later.
Cognitive impairment with headache, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating is also common. And these symptoms seem to contribute the most to work-related disability. Older adults seem more likely to develop work disability after a whiplash injury. They are also more likely to experience some type of cognitive impairment.
A medical exam may be in order. The physician can test for neurologic signs and symptoms as well as order CT scans or MRIs if needed. Getting help before the problem becomes a chronic one could get your wife back on track and relieve your anxieties.
J. Buitenhuis, MD, et al. Work Disability After Whiplash. In Spine. February 1, 2009. Vol. 34. No. 3. Pp. 262-267.
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