What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

Jun 23, 2021

Whiplash is the most common car accident injury for a reason! When your vehicle collides with another, it will typically shake your body around a bit. In a rear-end collision or fender-bender, whiplash is especially likely to occur because of how the impact affects your body. Whiplash can even occur when you have been in a relatively small car accident, which is why you should always visit a doctor after any collision. A whiplash chiropractor can assess you for any car accident injuries, including whiplash, and help you get the treatment you deserve. If you’ve never had a car accident injury like whiplash before, then continue on to learn more about whiplash and what it might feel like to you.

How Whiplash Happens

Whiplash occurs when the force of an accident causes your head and neck to violently snap forward and backward in quick succession. Your neck is designed to handle a wide range of motion so you can turn your head from side to side, up and down, etc. However, the flexible muscles in your neck can only be stretched so far before damage occurs. A car accident happens so suddenly and the force is so great that your head may snap forward and backward so quickly that it causes your neck muscles to strain outside of their normal range. Strained muscles can cause pain, swelling, and even tears in the muscles. A whiplash injury can also affect the spine in your neck and upper back, leading to misalignments and even damage to your spine.

When Whiplash Symptoms Begin

You may not start to feel any symptoms of whiplash right away because this type of injury is what is known as a ‘hidden injury’. That means the symptoms of whiplash can take hours and even days to fully appear. Hidden injuries can take time for symptoms to appear after something like a car accident because the trauma and stress of the accident may prevent you from noticing pain right away. A car accident may get your adrenaline pumping, which can also mask pain and other symptoms of an injury. Even though you may not notice any pain immediately after the car accident happens, the signs and symptoms of a whiplash injury may start to set in over time.

Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash

Neck pain is the most common symptom of whiplash after a car accident. You may feel neck pain as well as stiffness when you try to move your head around. The stiffness and pain may increase with certain movements, like tilting your head forward or turning your head from side to side. When your neck is stiff, it can stress your upper back and make additional movements uncomfortable. If you suffered a muscle strain in your neck due to whiplash, you may also experience swelling and inflammation, and even notice your neck is tender to the touch. Other signs and symptoms of whiplash include headaches, dizziness, and blurred vision.

Diagnosing Whiplash

There isn’t one specific test to diagnose a whiplash injury, which is why you want to see a whiplash chiropractor who specializes in car accident injuries. Your whiplash chiropractor will want to hear about the symptoms you have been experiencing, when you first noticed them, and whether or not they have gotten worse over time. They will likely also perform a physical exam of your head, neck, and upper back. Your doctor may also want to rule out other common car accident injuries with similar symptoms, like a concussion. To do this, they may recommend a diagnostic imaging test like an X-ray or MRI scan. These types of diagnostic imaging tools provide your whiplash chiropractor with highly detailed images of the affected area.

Treating Whiplash

A whiplash chiropractor will use a safe and natural approach to your treatment plan. Whiplash injuries tend to heal with time and proper care, so your whiplash chiropractor may also recommend at-home remedies to help you heal and recover. A whiplash chiropractor may use chiropractic adjustments to gently and safely resolve any misalignments in your spine that are contributing to your pain. They may also recommend stretches and exercises to help you regain your strength in your neck muscles and help to better support your head and neck going forward.

If you are looking for a whiplash chiropractor in Lithia Springs, visit AICA Orthopedics and meet our highly skilled and knowledgeable team of car accident doctors.


Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.