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man holding the back of his neck in pain from whiplash

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash After an Accident?

What Are the Symptoms of Whiplash After an Accident?

Whiplash is the name of the injury caused by a forceful movement that jerks your neck forward and back – like the crack of a whip. This injury is often the result of a rear-end car accident or another type of car crash. Some cases are especially painful and make ordinary, everyday tasks difficult for a few weeks.

Not all victims know they have whiplash right away because it often takes time to fully manifest. As a precaution, you should always see a physician after an accident. Even if the accident was minor and you feel fine, frequently the pain sets in hours after the fact, once your body has time to relax. To avoid further complicating injuries that might be present, visit a medical professional after the accident just to be safe.

What Kind of Accidents Cause Whiplash?

Whiplash is the result of your head being forcefully thrown about backward and forward. When this abnormal movement occurs suddenly, it can injure the bones in the spine, the discs between bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, and other tissues around your neck. Victims of whiplash will experience tightening and stiffness in the neck that causes pain when turning or rotating your head.

The following accidents most commonly cause whiplash injuries:

As stated before, rear-end accidents are the most common type of car crash that causes whiplash injuries. Contact sports, like football, are commonly known to cause whiplash when players are tackled. Like an accident, their heads can snap forward and back, which can end in whiplash.

What Are the Immediate Symptoms of Whiplash?

Whiplash injury symptoms often take 24 hours to fully develop after an accident has occurred. Sometimes, the full extent of whiplash takes a couple of days to form. Most times, however, victims feel the highest level of whiplash pain the following day of their accident.

The most immediate symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck
  • Sharp pain with neck movement
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Constant fatigue
  • Dizzy spells

Most whiplash injuries fully heal within a couple of weeks. More complicated whiplash injuries, however, can last months or years. Whiplash cases that are especially severe can include the following symptoms:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Trouble focusing
  • Blurred or spotted vision
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Anxiety & depression

When accidents are critical with a high level of impact, whiplash injury and pain typically become worse. Victims who are older or have pre-existing conditions in their neck or back usually experience additional complications of a whiplash injury.

How Will a Doctor Treat Whiplash After an Accident?

The specific injuries caused by whiplash after an accident are known as whiplash-associated disorder (WAD). Car accident victims will know if they have WAD after they visit a doctor, but X-rays or a single test won’t identify it. Instead, a doctor will evaluate your injuries based on how painful they are and what motions cause the pain – like asking you to turn your head or lie down.

Treatments that doctors recommend for whiplash include:

  • Wearing a neck brace
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Chiropractic treatments
  • Pain medication

For extensive whiplash injuries, doctors might inject an epidural to block pain impulses, so the tissues in your neck and spine can heal. The level of treatment depends on the severity of your whiplash injuries.

How Can I Treat Whiplash at Home?

It’s always best to see a doctor for your whiplash injury. Depending on the severity of your injury, some at-home treatments that seem helpful to the average person can consequently make your injuries worse. Your doctor will provide exact instructions on how to treat your whiplash injury.

Conventional at-home treatments include:

  • Icing the sore area
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medicine
  • Avoiding physical work that agitates the injury

It’s possible to worsen your injury unintentionally while you sleep. For this reason, many doctors will have their patients use a neck pillow or brace to prevent further damage when they sleep. Keep in mind that each recommendation is dependent on the severity of the damage. If your doctor gives you a brace, you may only have to wear it at certain times throughout the day; or if your doctor instructs that you do exercise, doing more than what’s advised can worsen your whiplash injury. Whether your whiplash injury is mild or severe, always follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery.

Call a Trusted Car Accident Attorney After an Accident

After seeking treatment for your whiplash injury caused by an accident, your next step is contacting a trusted accident attorney in Los Angeles. If your whiplash injury resulted from an accident caused by the negligence of another driver, then you should be compensated for your pain and injuries. Most times, whiplash heals, and the pain subsides after a few months. Other times, however, victims suffer chronic pain that lasts for years.

The Barnes Firm is dedicated to helping accident victims recover from injuries, such as whiplash. No matter the extent of your injuries – if the wrongdoing of someone else caused them – you should be compensated. Our trusted attorneys are well-versed in injury laws with an impressive track record of settlements from personal injury cases.

Contact The Barnes Firm to learn how we can help you after your car accident. Complete an online qualification form to schedule an appointment, or call us anytime at (800) 800-0000 for your free consultation.

The Barnes Firm (800) 800-0000



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