Whiplash injuries affect the tendons, muscles and soft tissues of the neck. These types of injuries usually develop when you experience a sudden, vigorous and unidirectional back-and-forth motion of the head. Whiplash happens because your neck has been quickly and repeatedly forced beyond its usual range of motion.
These movements overstretch or sprain the ligaments, muscles and tendons of the neck, causing you pain and discomfort. Since the neck is part of the spinal column, this pain can extend to your shoulders and back.
While whiplash develops into a painful injury, victims of car accidents can sometimes have no symptoms of whiplash as soon as it happens. Symptoms may be delayed for hours, days or even weeks, making it crucial to know telltale signs that one should not ignore over time.
Neck pain and stiffness
The most common and immediate sign of whiplash is neck pain, which can vary from mild to severe and may be localized or extend to the shoulders. The discomfort often worsens with movement. Accompanying the pain is a noticeable stiffness in the neck, which can limit your range of motion and contribute to headaches. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly.
Whiplash-induced headaches are another prevalent symptom. These headaches are typically tension-type and may originate from the base of the skull. While over-the-counter pain relievers may provide temporary relief, a thorough medical assessment is necessary to address the root cause.
Fatigue and dizziness
Whiplash can also lead to persistent fatigue. The strain on the neck muscles can result in a constant feeling of tiredness. Adequate rest, coupled with medical guidance, is vital for recovery.
Dizziness is a less common but significant sign of whiplash. It may be associated with the rapid motion affecting the inner ear. If you experience persistent dizziness, seeking medical attention is imperative to rule out complications.
Cognitive and concentration issues
Whiplash can impact cognitive function and concentration. If you find yourself experiencing difficulty focusing, memory lapses or heightened irritability after a car crash, these could be indicative of whiplash-related complications.
In the aftermath of a car crash, recognizing the signs of whiplash is paramount to ensuring prompt and effective treatment. By being vigilant for the symptoms discussed above, you can take proactive steps towards recovery.