Whiplash is a common injury that occurs after sudden, forceful movements of the neck, often associated with car accidents. While it might not always be immediately apparent, recognizing the signs of whiplash is crucial for seeking timely medical attention and proper treatment.
Below, some of the most common signs of whiplash after an accident are detailed. If you’ve recently been involved in a crash and are experiencing any of the following, it’s time to seek a physician’s evaluation of your condition.
Neck pain and stiffness
One of the most common indicators of whiplash is neck pain and stiffness. This discomfort usually sets in within 24 hours after the accident. The pain may be localized or radiate into the shoulders and upper back.
Frequent headaches, often starting at the base of the skull, are another telltale sign of whiplash. These headaches can range from mild to severe and may persist for weeks or even months.
Reduced range of motion
Whiplash can limit the neck’s range of motion. Individuals with this injury may find it challenging to turn their heads or tilt them from side to side. Attempting to do so may exacerbate the pain.
Fatigue and dizziness
Whiplash can lead to fatigue and dizziness. These symptoms may be attributed to the strain on the neck muscles and the impact on the nerves in the cervical spine.
Tingling or numbness
Some people with whiplash experience tingling or numbness in their arms, hands or fingers. This can be a sign of nerve compression or irritation in the neck area.
Seeking medical attention
If you or someone you know experiences any of these signs and symptoms after an accident, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional can diagnose whiplash and recommend appropriate treatments, which may include rest, physical therapy, pain management and in some cases, wearing a cervical collar. Early intervention is key to a smoother recovery and preventing long-term complications.