Whiplash: The Symptoms You Need to Know 

Whiplash is an injury that occurs when your body is suddenly forced backward and forward. It’s the most common injury during an automobile accident and is one of the leading causes of chronic neck and back pain. While a little fender bender may not seem like a big deal, new research has shown that even small accidents can result in significant injuries. 

The violent forces that occur during an auto accident can cause damage to your spinal discs, ligaments, tendons, and bones-even at “low” speeds. Most of these injuries happen because your head is quickly whipped backward and forward. This rapid back-and-forth motion frequently results in ligament tearing and spinal disc injuries. Symptoms such as neck pain, back pain, headaches, confusion, and even depression indicate that you’ve suffered a whiplash injury. You may not immediately notice any pain because of a spike in adrenaline during the accident. For many people, these symptoms may take hours or even a few days to develop after the initial shock of the car accident wears off. 

  • Whiplash is an acceleration-deceleration injury that can affect your ligaments, spinal discs, muscles, and facet joints 
  • There is often a period of little to no pain before the symptoms become worse 
  • Symptoms of whiplash include neck or back pain, headache, radiating pain, confusion, and difficulty sleeping

It’s smart to get a complete evaluation after an auto accident to minimize your risk of long-term pain. Getting the right care at the right time can make a big difference in your ability to heal quickly and avoid long-term chronic pain. Remember, even small accidents can cause injuries, so if you’ve been involved in an auto accident, be sure to reach out to our office as soon as possible so we can help you get on the relief road. 

Science Source

The Effectiveness of Conservative Management for Acute Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) II: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials.PLoS One. 2015

Biomechanics of whiplash injury. Chinese Journal of Traumatology. 2009

Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics. The Open Rehabilitation Journal. 2013

The association between exposure to a rear-end collision and future neck or shoulder pain: a cohort study. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2000

Subacromial impingement in patients with whiplash injury to the cervical spine. Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research. 2008