Three Signs You Might Have Suffered a Whiplash Injury

Middle-aged man with neck pain Inside the Car

Whiplash can be deceptively subtle. As an internal injury that often occurs without direct contact, whiplash is easy to overlook after an accident or traumatic experience. Symptoms of whiplash can take days or weeks after the incident to appear.

Here are three signs you might have suffered a whiplash injury, and what you can do about it.

1. You Experienced Physical Trauma

Whiplash is an injury to the cervical spine, which includes your neck and upper back. It occurs when the head is forced backward and forward rapidly in a whip-like motion. This sudden movement causes damage to the vertebrae, discs, connective tissues, muscles, and soft tissues of the neck, shoulders, and upper back.

If you experienced an accident or event that caused your head to forcefully move forward and backward, you might have a whiplash injury.

Situations that could cause whiplash include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Sports accidents
  • Carnival and amusement park rides
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Falls from a height

Even if you don’t notice symptoms right away, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately after a physically traumatic event affecting your neck.

2. You Have Whiplash Injury Symptoms

Whiplash symptoms aren’t always immediately apparent. If you suffered a jolt, impact, or another traumatic incident, watch for these whiplash injury symptoms in the following days or weeks:

  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Pain when moving your neck
  • Reduced neck mobility
  • Headaches
  • Shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Middle and lower back pain
  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • Ears ringing
  • Pain or numbness in hands or arms
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Mood swings and irritability

Left untreated, whiplash can cause long-term pain and discomfort that affects all aspects of your life.

3. Your Doctor Says You Have Whiplash

When you experience physical trauma from a fall, car accident, or other cause, you should visit your doctor right away. Medical professionals know the signs of whiplash. They may be able to diagnose it before you start to feel more obvious symptoms.

To determine whether you have whiplash, a doctor may use:

  • X-rays
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

These imaging techniques allow the doctor to see your bones, muscles, soft tissues, connective tissues, and organs. They may also conduct a physical examination to assess you for whiplash and other injuries.

What To Do if You’ve Suffered a Whiplash Injury

If you suffered a whiplash injury, medical attention is critical. Although it may seem like a minor injury, whiplash can be painful and debilitating and can prevent you from working or engaging in normal activities if left untreated.

Support your health and well-being by seeing a doctor who specializes in chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy for whiplash patients. A licensed and trained physician can conduct diagnostics to determine the extent and severity of your whiplash injuries.

Using science-based techniques, they can build a treatment plan addressing the pain and stiffness associated with whiplash, so you can recover from your injuries and return to your daily life.

Treatments Available for Whiplash Injuries

Every patient has different factors affecting the type of treatment they receive, including age, medical history, current state of health, and the severity of their injuries. A licensed chiropractor and physiotherapist will customize your treatment plan to meet your specific needs.

Chiropractic Adjustments for Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash can cause vertebrae up and down your spine to become misaligned. Left untreated, dislocated spinal joints can hamper your healing process and cause additional, unnecessary pain.

During a chiropractic adjustment, a licensed chiropractor gently manipulates your spinal joints back into alignment, so your spine can heal correctly. Spinal manipulation has been proven to reduce pain and improve patient mobility. It’s especially effective when used alongside physical therapy treatments.

Physiotherapy Treatments for Whiplash Injuries

Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, uses a variety of passive and active applications to break down scar tissue, reduce inflammation, promote soft tissue healing, and strengthen supporting muscles in whiplash patients.

Common physiotherapy treatments for whiplash injuries include:

  • Massage therapy: A licensed physiotherapist uses pressure to relax muscles, reduce compression, increase range of motion, and improve circulation.
  • Resistance training: Using a series of exercises and stretches, a skilled physiotherapist helps you strengthen muscles around the injury, promoting mobility and healing while reducing the potential for re-injury.
  • Electrical stimulation (ES): Electrodes are placed around the site of your whiplash injury to direct low-voltage magnetic current into the affected tissues. ES treatment reduces pain, improves circulation, and promotes tissue healing.

Your chiropractor and physiotherapist will regularly evaluate your progress, adjusting your treatments to ensure optimal medical improvement. The goal of chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy is to return you to the state of health you enjoyed before your whiplash injury occurred.

Why You Should Seek Medical Treatment for Whiplash Injuries

Treating whiplash injuries is critical to returning to your daily life without long-term health problems. You may be tempted to ignore stiffness and pain after an accident, but could suffer severe consequences in the long run.

Untreated whiplash can cause long-term pain and mobility issues. You may be less able to exercise or engage in physical activities, which can affect your overall health and quality of life. If your whiplash is severe, you could also have trouble working, which can affect your livelihood. 

If your injuries were due to someone else’s negligence, you could pursue an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Medical records for whiplash treatment provide critical evidence to prove your injuries. Your doctors can provide medical records to your attorney, with your permission, so you have a better chance for financial recovery.

Contact Naples Community Injury Center for Your Whiplash Treatment

If you experienced any of these three signs, you might have suffered a whiplash injury. Contact Naples Community Injury Center online or call (239) 631-5445 to discuss your treatment options. Our dedicated medical doctors will diagnose your whiplash injury and establish a personalized treatment plan to help you return to your best possible state of health.