Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in a car crash. Many people experience at least some level of whiplash after someone rear-ends them. However, whiplash is not limited to just vehicle collisions. This neck injury can result from any vigorous jarring or snapping motion.
After your accident, it is critical to seek a medical evaluation, even if you do not feel like you suffered a severe injury at the time. Diagnosing and treating whiplash right away can go a long way to preventing more serious complications later on.
Typical symptoms of whiplash
The Mayo Clinic describes whiplash as a neck injury from forceful, back-and-forth motion of head and neck, like a whip crack. If you were in an accident where your head snapped back and forth abruptly or repeatedly, you could have whiplash. Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain or stiffness in your neck, especially when you try to move it
- Decreased range of motion
- Tenderness or tingling numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms or upper back
Those who are older or have existing low back or neck conditions have a higher risk of getting severe whiplash. People involved in a high-speed collision are likely to suffer a more extreme case, as well.
Many people who experience whiplash recover in a few weeks and their symptoms are unlikely to return. If the injury is severe enough, however, it can cause further complications like osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. If you suffered intense pain at the time of your accident, you may be more likely to have chronic whiplash in the future.