Symptoms of Whiplash

Posted: July 31, 2018

After an accident, watch for symptoms of whiplash

There are approximately three million whiplash injuries each year in the United States. This number is likely low, as many cases of whiplash go unreported because the injury might not be immediately apparent at the time of an accident. To help ensure that you receive the right medical attention, you should know the symptoms of whiplash.

Although whiplash can be caused by a sports accident or other trauma, the largest portion of cases are caused by a motor vehicle accident. In fact, 45 percent of those with chronic neck pain can attribute the pain to a motor vehicle crash.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck strain or sprain that is caused when the neck is hyperextended (goes backward) and hyperflexed (head goes forward) quickly. The motion is similar to a nod, but it’s as quick as the crack of a whip. The neck consists of vertebrae, nerves, muscles and ligaments, which can all be injured when you experience whiplash in an accident.

It’s important to see a doctor immediately after an incident that causes whiplash, even if you aren’t experiencing pain. Often, whiplash symptoms develop over time. So, the absence of discomfort at the time of an accident doesn’t indicate you’re injury free.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Although pain and sensitivity in the neck or back are common symptoms of whiplash, and usually develop within 24 hours of the injury, you might still have whiplash even if you’re free from pain.

Here are some other symptoms of whiplash:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Neck stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion in neck
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or tingling in arms
  • Tenderness in shoulder, upper back or arms

Although these symptoms are less common, some people who have whiplash also experience:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

After you have visited your doctor for diagnosis and treatment, contact our legal team for a free case evaluation. Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys represent clients in whiplash throughout Denver and the Front Range.