Whiplash occurs when your head and neck are forced back and forward suddenly and without warning.
Whiplash injuries occur most often during rear-end collisions but can also result from contact sports, physical abuse, and even amusement park rides.
Whiplash moves the soft tissues surrounding the cervical spine beyond their typical range of motion.
Symptoms might not appear for a while, so you should be mindful of any physical changes for a few days following any crash or other injury event.
But where do you feel whiplash pain? Is it centralized, or can it radiate?
We'll explore that and when to see a whiplash chiropractor in the article below.
Table Of Contents
- Where Will I Feel Whiplash Pain?
- Complications Associated With Whiplash
- When Should You Contact A Doctor?
- How Can You Get a Whiplash Diagnosis?
- Choose Florida Spine and Injury
Where Will I Feel Whiplash Pain?
Whiplash may also be referred to as a neck strain or a neck sprain.
So, the majority of people will experience pain in their neck.
However, it can also cause upper to mid-back pain and shoulder pain.
Common symptoms of whiplash may include:
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Neck stiffness
- Pain in the shoulder, upper back, or arms
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Muscle spasms
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Cognitive symptoms may include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory loss
- Problems with memory and concentration
Patients with whiplash don't always notice their symptoms right away, and they may appear or get noticeably worse a day or two after the injury.
Severe injury cases can also include a mild traumatic brain injury or a concussion.
Complications Associated With Whiplash
Fortunately, most people with whiplash feel better within a few weeks of the initial injury.
However, some people develop whiplash-associated disorders and have long-term pain for several months or years.
There's no way to predict how an individual will react to a whiplash injury or how they will recover.
The effects of whiplash depend on the severity of the injury and the well-being of the accident victim before the injury.
You may be more likely to have chronic pain if your initial symptoms were intense, started right away, and included:
- Severe neck pain
- More-limited range of motion
- Pain that radiated to the shoulders and arms
The following risk factors have been linked to a worse outcome:
When Should You Contact A Doctor?
Most whiplash symptoms, especially minor, can be treated at home with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications or muscle relaxants.
However, painkillers should only be a temporary option.
It's essential to see a doctor after an auto crash or other injury event since symptoms can be delayed.
Go to the doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- pain or stiffness in the neck that goes away and then comes back
- severe neck pain
- chronic neck pain
- pain, numbness, or tingling in your shoulders, arms, or legs
- localized weakness in an arm or leg
How Can You Get a Whiplash Diagnosis?
Before you can receive treatment for whiplash, your injury has to be diagnosed.
When you see a doctor, like a chiropractor, after an accident, they will start with a physical exam.
Your chiropractor will touch and move your head, neck, and arms.
They may ask you to move and perform simple tasks so they can evaluate:
- The range of motion in your neck and shoulders
- Degree of motion that causes pain or an increase in your pain
- Tenderness in your neck muscles, shoulders, or back
- Reflexes, strength, and sensation in your limbs
After the physical exam, they will review your medical history.
You will likely get imaging tests, including x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.
Choose Florida Spine and Injury
After a sustaining neck injury, it's vital to seek chiropractic care.
At Florida Spine and Injury, our chiropractors are trained and have experience working with neck injuries like whiplash so they can get their patients the medical attention they need.
Florida Spine and Injury provides personalized chiropractic treatment plans to each patient based on their accident and accident injuries.
If you have recently been involved in an auto accident, call Florida Spine and Injury today to schedule a Free Consultation with one of their accident injury chiropractors.