Whiplash is the most common injury sustained in a car accident- you’re more likely to have some degree of whiplash than to not, especially if you get rear-ended. However, it being common doesn’t mean it is a simple injury. Whiplash can occur in a variety of ways and have varying levels of severity, and it may present different symptoms in different people. However it looks for you, getting help from a whiplash chiropractor quickly is crucial after a car accident. This means it is important to identify whiplash symptoms in yourself or loved ones. The following symptoms can all occur in whiplash patients, though you may not always have all of them.
Pain or Stiffness in the Neck
Whiplash occurs when the soft tissue in the neck is strained or even torn due to sudden and violent movement of the head upon impact. If this occurs, you’re very likely to feel neck pain, whether it is mild soreness or severe, debilitating pain. This pain is usually accompanied by stiffness in the neck or the feeling that you are “stuck” in one position. You may not notice these symptoms for hours or days after the initial injury has occurred, but pain and stiffness of the neck are some of the first and most commons signs of a whiplash injury.
Loss of Neck Control
When not treated by a whiplash chiropractor, stiffness in the neck can become a lack of control of the neck. This happens most often when a patient stops making neck movements altogether, relying on other parts of the body to make up for this lack of movement. Eventually, the neck loses strength, and therefore the ability to be controlled. This often manifests in a difficulty bowing your head to read a book or use a laptop.
Headaches can be related to a range of car accident injuries, but whiplash is one of them. A whiplash-related headache typically begins at the base of the skull and travels up the back of the head. This occurs as the muscles and tendons that have been injured begin to re-grow and fully connect to the skull again. Combined with damage to the skull or spinal cord, these headaches can become chronic.
Tingling or Numbness in the Arms
Injuries related to the spine and related tissues can often impact nerves in the same area. Nerves in the neck are often related to the arms and hands, so if a nerve is damaged or pinched, feeling in these extremities may be lost. This is similar to the feeling of a limb “falling asleep” after you sit in one position for too long. It is typically temporary and comes in bursts, but if not addressed, feeling could be permanently lost.
The spinal cord is tasked with providing nutrients, including oxygen, to the head and relaying messages back to the rest of the body. If this connection is impacted by whiplash, the line of communication can be damaged and have impacts on the body. Dizziness is a prime example of this, along with a feeling of imbalance or loss of coordination.
Sleep can be a problem after any injury that causes you discomfort. If you can’t find a position to sleep in, you may get fitful rest, or your injury may wake you up throughout the night. Even if you do sleep, you may end up in a position that doesn’t properly support the head and neck in order to avoid pain. This lack of proper sleep can add up over time, leading you to feel constantly exhausted.
Ringing in the Ears
It’s not known what about whiplash may cause tinnitus, or a constant ringing in the ears, though it is likely related to spinal damage. For some people, the ringing will be short-lived and a small annoyance, while others experience it for long periods of time. Without proper treatment from a whiplash chiropractor, tinnitus is likely to become chronic or even permanent.
Mood or Behavior Changes
People who are suffering from a whiplash injury may notice changes in their mood and behavior. This may mean being more irritable than usual, or it could mean a bout of clinical depression. This may be a result of the balance between the body and mind being impacted or brought on by an inability to perform your typical daily activities.
If you may be exhibiting these symptoms, a whiplash chiropractor at AICA Conyers can help. Our team of specialists will create a customized treatment plan to address your symptoms and work towards pain relief and a full recovery.