Does a Headache After a Car Accident Mean That I Have Whiplash?

Mar 22, 2021

Does-a-Headache-After-a-Car-Accident-Mean-That-I-Have-WhiplashMany people tend to think headaches are just an unfortunate side effect of being in a car accident, but they can actually be a sign of something more serious going on. While you may be tempted to wait out a headache and assume it will just go away on its own, you might start to worry when it’s lasting for hours or even days. Unfortunately, headaches are a common experience after a car accident because they are your body’s way of signaling that something isn’t quite right. Meet with a whiplash chiropractor after a car accident that’s left you with a headache that won’t go away.

What Are Whiplash Headaches?

Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of a whiplash injury because of how your head and neck were affected by the car accident. The force of the accident likely caused your head and neck to snap forward and backward really suddenly, especially if you were in a rear-end collision or fender-bender. In the initial aftermath, you might notice a few scrapes and bruises but consider yourself otherwise okay. After a few hours, though, you might notice a headache start to settle in and signal that something is wrong.

When your head and neck are jostled back and forth in the accident, it can injure your spine, muscles, and tendons. Your muscles and tendons that support your head and neck be forced out of their normal range of motion, which can even cause tears. Your spinal column houses your nervous system, so if your spine is impacted by the accident then there may be excessive pressure or damage to your nerves. Even the spinal discs that typically separate vertebrae and absorb shock can get forced out of place and put pressure on nearby nerves and soft tissues. Pain and swelling to your spine, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues will all contribute to whiplash headaches.

What Are Other Symptoms of Whiplash?

When your neck muscles and tendons strain out of their normal range of motion, they can become tender, swollen, and even warm to the touch. As your body takes time to recover from the shock of the accident, you might notice stiffness in your neck and even a temporary decrease in your ability to turn your neck from side to side without pain and discomfort. Pressure or damage to nerves can cause uncomfortable neurological side effects as well, like tingling, numbness, and even sharp, stabbing pains. Car accident injury symptoms can be tricky and they may take hours or days to fully appear because your body was likely flooded with adrenaline, which initially masks many pain symptoms. That’s why many people don’t realize until a few days later that something more serious is going on than just a few headaches.

How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?

A whiplash chiropractor may use a combination of your reported symptoms, a physical examination of your neck and spine, and even diagnostic imaging tools to help diagnose whiplash. Whiplash can actually be tricky to diagnose because of its hidden symptoms and lack of specific identifying marks on a scan. That’s why it’s important to visit a whiplash chiropractor or car accident doctor who is well-versed in diagnosing these types of injuries so you can get the comprehensive care you deserve. Your whiplash chiropractor may also use diagnostic imaging tools like X-rays or MRIs to rule out other car accident injuries and get greater visual detail of how your bones and soft tissues were affected by the accident.

What Treatments Are Available for Whiplash?

Headache and whiplash treatments near Lithia Springs will involve both addressing your symptoms and the root cause of your pain. Your whiplash chiropractor will want to provide you with pain relief from your headaches and other symptoms, but also provide lasting relief in other ways. A whiplash chiropractor will commonly assess the spine for any misalignments that may be contributing to your pain and discomfort, then use a safe and gentle adjustment technique to restore your spine to its proper posture. A combination of therapeutic massage and stretches can also help restore blood flow and improve functioning in affected areas. Alternating cold and hot therapies at home can also help address any swelling and provide pain relief to your tender, aching neck muscles.

If you’ve got a headache that just doesn’t seem to go away, visit AICA Orthopedics in Lithia Springs and meet with our team of whiplash chiropractors and car accident doctors who can provide you with lasting relief and recovery.


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