woman holding her neck in pain

Symptoms to Look Out for If You Think You Have Whiplash

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Accidents can happen anytime when you least expect it. No matter how much you follow traffic rules and wear your seatbelt diligently, some irresponsible driver on the road can put you and other people’s lives in danger. Worse, irresponsible driving can cause serious injuries and even death.

One of the common injuries that vehicular accident victims may get is whiplash. Utah-based experts note that this condition can be treated with the right treatment and therapy. Otherwise, not ignoring the signs of a whiplash injury can lead to further health complications.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a common neck injury caused by a strenuous back-and-forth movement of the head and neck following a vehicular accident. It can also be a result of a sports-related accident as well as physical abuse that can cause trauma to the body, including the head and neck.

Such injury also causes damage to the soft tissues, bones, as well as the spine due to the sudden forceful movement. Whiplash is not considered a life-threatening injury. However, it can cause a short-term disability that can affect a person’s quality of life.

At the same time, it can even lead to anxiety and depression on the person who has this injury. Treating whiplash can be expensive and may need some time to recover.

Some are able to recover from whiplash quickly without experiencing any major symptoms. However, there are some individuals that experience symptoms even years after the injury occurred.

Causes and symptoms

pain at the back of the neck

As mentioned, whiplash is usually the cause of a forceful movement of the head that is thrown backward and then forward. It is a common injury on road accidents, but can also happen during sports activities, such as football as well as other contact sports, or other forceful physical movements, such as physical abuse and assault.

In such cases, you should consult a doctor immediately in order to rule out possible tissue or bone damage. Whiplash symptoms usually develop within 24 hours following the injury, although not in most cases.

Some may feel better after 1–4 weeks, but some may take time for recovery. Serious injuries may be higher for those who had whiplash before, the elderly, and those with chronic back or neck problems. Meanwhile, common symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • Stiff neck or neck pain
  • Headache
  • Pain in the shoulder, arms, and upper back
  • Tingling sensation in the arms
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Tinnitus (ringing coming from inside the ear)
  • Cognitive and memory difficulties
  • Blurred vision
  • Anxiety and depression


Those who are suspected of having whiplash and confirmed to have the symptoms above should be treated and visit a doctor promptly. Some patients may be required to undergo magnetic resonance imaging or MRI or CT scan.

Meanwhile, doctors would also recommend those who suffer from whiplash medications such as muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory. Experts also advise patients to apply a hot compress on the affected area to help loosen up tense muscles. Simple exercises may also be recommended under the doctor’s supervision.

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