Eight Signs of Whiplash to Look Out For
Do you remember being in an accident but feeling fine?
Whiplash is the most common injury in car accidents. It sounds confusing and unusual, but it happens. It can happen to anyone, even when you do not feel the crash.
But how do you know if you have whiplash? Once your adrenaline wears off after the accident, you feel fine physically.
We have you covered. Keep reading for seven signs of whiplash and when to see a doctor. Pain, neck stiffness, and headaches are a few symptoms.
What is a Whiplash
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Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused when the head suddenly jerks forward and backward. Commonly caused by slips, falls, and car accidents.
It is essential to recognize the signs of whiplash early so doctors may treat the injury as soon as possible. Whiplash symptoms can range in severity and become more intense over time, making it essential to get the appropriate medical care to prevent further damage or injury.
Symptoms of Whiplash
It affects men and women of all ages and can cause various symptoms. Make sure to check the following signs and contact your doctor right away:
1. Neck Pain and Stiffness
This type of pain is due to rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck that occurs when a person experiences physical trauma, such as a car accident. Neck pain and stiffness can range from mild to severe and may last hours to weeks.
Headaches are a common symptom of whiplash. The type of headache associated with whiplash is often pounding or throbbing, and the intensity can range from mild to severe. The pain of a whiplash-related headache can remain localized to the head, neck, and shoulder area. Strain or movement in the neck aggravates that pain.
3. Pain in the Shoulder or Between the Shoulder Blades
It causes damage to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the neck and upper back area. The most common symptoms of whiplash include pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades. This pain can be felt immediately following the accident or may not manifest until several hours later.
4. Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can happen shortly after the accident that caused the whiplash, or it can sometimes take a few days before feeling it. Even with treatment from a medical professional, lower back pain from whiplash can sometimes be chronic and long-lasting. In extreme cases, nerve damage can occur, resulting in numbness, paralysis, and lack of feeling in the lower extremities.
5. Pain or Numbness in the Arm and Hand
Numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arm and hand may result from nerve or muscle damage from the injury. Pain in the arm and writing accompanied by burning, radiating, shooting, or aching sensations. Some may experience difficulty or loss of coordination in the arm or hand due to trauma or swelling of the nerves.
Strained muscles in the neck cause dizziness. The dizziness can also be caused by inflammation of the inner ear structures, especially if whiplash is severe and includes upper cervical trauma. Depending on the severity of the whiplash, dizziness can last just a few days or persist for weeks after the injury.
7. Difficulty Concentrating or Remembering
It can affect short- and long-term memory, and a person may have difficulty forming new memories or finding the right words to express themselves. They may have trouble paying attention to a conversation or become easily distracted. Sometimes, whiplash can cause mood changes, including anxiety, depression, or difficulty sleeping.
8. Irritability, Sleep Disturbances, Fatigue
Irritability can manifest in those with whiplash as a sudden, unexpected onset of agitation and hostile behavior. Sleep disturbances include difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep.
Fatigue is a common outcome of whiplash, with sufferers feeling mentally and physically drained. Complicating matters further is the difficulty of determining an individual’s level of fatigue and its impact on activities.
Complications of Whiplash
Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a forceful back-and-forth neck movement. It is one of the three most commonly reported auto accident injuries.
When left untreated, there are a variety of complications associated with whiplash. Pain can last anywhere from several days to several months, and if not appropriately managed through medical care, there can be more severe consequences
Identifying When to Seek Medical Help
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. Your physician will conduct a thorough examination and recommend the appropriate treatment plan.
Treatment includes rest, medications such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, icing, physical therapy, and occasional surgery if the condition is persistent. It is essential to get medical help so the doctors can have a look. Check it as soon as possible to prevent further injury and avoid chronic pain.
How to Treat Whiplash Accidents
If you have any of these symptoms after an accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Treatment for whiplash usually focuses on relieving pain, including physical therapy, pain medications, and muscle relaxation exercises. Rest and avoiding activities that aggravate discomfort are essential to treat whiplash.
Tips to Prevent Whiplash Injuries
One of the best ways to prevent whiplash injuries is wearing a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car. Seatbelts hold the body in place during a sudden stop or collision, reducing the risk of serious neck and head movement. Drivers should also keep a safe distance when driving so they can have more time to react and attempt to slow down if a vehicle in front of them suddenly has to stop.
Drivers should make sure they have their headrests properly adjusted—the top of the headrest should be at the same level as the top of the head. Lastly, if possible, try to reduce any activities that involve sudden or jerky movements of the head and neck, such as contact sports and high-impact physical activities.
Signs of Whiplash You Need to Be Aware Of
Look for these signs of whiplash if you have been subject to an auto accident. Make sure to take preventative measures and seek medical attention if these signs are present.
You can alleviate your pain and get back to your life with the proper treatment. Call your doctor today to start the recovery process especially after an auto injury.
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Last Updated on February 8, 2023