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What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

Jun 16, 2021

what-does-whiplash-feel-likeWhiplash is so common that you might wonder if that’s what has you feeling so uncomfortable after a car accident. Aches and pains after a car accident can send some people straight to the doctor, while other people may choose to wait it out or tough it out. When you’ve been in a car accident, you might hope that a little bit of pain will go away shortly. But what about when that pain starts getting worse, or you start developing other symptoms? Visit a whiplash chiropractor to get checked out after a car accident and find out if your pain and discomfort are actually signs of a whiplash injury.

Understanding a Whiplash Injury

Whiplash is the most common car accident injury for a simple reason. While your upper body is restrained or held more firmly in place during an accident due to the seat belt, your head and neck don’t have anything protecting them from the force of impact. When a car collides with yours, it can cause your head and neck to involuntarily fling forward and backward, and this sudden and harsh movement can cause damage to your body. The muscles in your neck are designed to move through a wide range of motion so that you can turn your head from side to side and all around. However, the sudden impact can cause those same muscles to strain out of their normal range of motion and lead to pain, swelling, and even muscle tears. The force of the accident and your head and neck getting jostled around can also cause damage to the spine in your neck and upper back.

Whiplash as a Hidden Injury

Whiplash is known as a hidden injury because, unlike a broken bone or laceration, there likely won’t be any visible signs that you have been injured. In fact, even common signs and symptoms of whiplash don’t always show up right away. A car accident is a stressful event for most people and you might even experience some level of shock that may prevent you from recognizing an injury right away. Shock and stress can keep you from truly feeling your whiplash symptoms or other injury signs right after a car accident. Your body is likely also pumping with adrenaline, which can also prevent you from recognizing just how much pain and discomfort you might be in.

Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash

While it is possible to notice signs and symptoms of whiplash right away, it is more common that you start to notice these in the hours and even days after the car accident occurred. The most common signs of whiplash are neck pain and headaches. Once the shock and adrenaline have worn off, you might start to feel pain in your head and neck, and also start to experience stiff neck muscle. When you have whiplash, you may have trouble turning your head from side to side or up and down without feeling pain, tenderness, and stiffness. Other signs and symptoms of whiplash that you might be feeling after a car accident include dizziness, blurred vision, and feeling more tired than usual. Whiplash can also lead to other injuries like a herniated disc in your spine or a concussion after a car accident.

Diagnosing Whiplash

When you meet with a whiplash chiropractor after a car accident, they will want to hear about what symptoms you have been experiencing and how you have felt in the hours and days since the accident. While there isn’t a specific test to run that determines if you have whiplash or not, your doctor may want to take an X-ray or MRI scan to rule out other potential injuries or determine if there are multiple injuries occurring at once. Your doctor will use a combination of your reported symptoms, a physical examination, and possibly even diagnostic imaging tools to determine your whiplash diagnosis.

Treating Whiplash

When it comes to treating your injury, your whiplash chiropractor will want to address the root cause of your pain while also treating your symptoms. Whiplash takes time to heal and your whiplash chiropractor can utilize gentle and therapeutic techniques to encourage the healing and recovery process. A whiplash chiropractor will also use safe and natural techniques that promote your body’s natural healing abilities so you can experience lasting pain relief and recovery from whiplash.

Visit a whiplash chiropractor in Conyers at AICA Orthopedics to get the individualized care you deserve so that you can get started on whiplash treatment.