Common Signs of Whiplash

Common Signs of Whiplash

Your head was jerked around, perhaps in a car accident or on a ride in an amusement park, and you want to know whether you should be concerned about whiplash. Here’s a look at some signs to watch out for.

While whiplash is commonly associated with being rear-ended in a car accident, there are many other ways in which your head can be rocked back and forth in a way that leads to whiplash. From amusement park rides to contact sports, whiplash can occur both in and out of the automobile.

That said, researchers estimate that more than 1.2 million people develop whiplash or cervical spine injury in car accidents each year in the United States.

Wherever the trauma occurred, you suspect that your neck may have been in the line of fire, and you want to watch for signs of whiplash. To help, Dr. Rajiv Sood and the team at Spine & Orthopedic Center gathered a list of the most common symptoms, which we present here.

Whiplash at a glance

Before we get into the more common signs of whiplash, it can be helpful to review what happens in your neck so that you have a better understanding of the potential side effects.

Whiplash is also called cervical acceleration/deceleration (CAD) syndrome, which is a fancier way of saying that your head was jerked violently back and forth.

With whiplash, your head is rocked back and forth, forcing the vertebrae in your neck to stretch and compress to extremes. This also strains supporting muscles and ligaments in your neck.

Side effects of whiplash

Directly after the trauma, it’s not uncommon for you to feel shaken, but otherwise OK. This may result from the adrenaline rush in your body, which suppresses pain. Once the dust settles, however, many people start to feel the effects, which is why the symptoms of whiplash can occur within minutes, hours, or days after your accident.

When they do occur, symptoms of whiplash typically include:

  • Pain in your neck
  • Stiffness in your neck (you can't turn your head)
  • Pain in your shoulders and/or back
  • Pain in your arm
  • Numbness or tingling in your arm and hand
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Headache
  • Vision disturbances
  • Fatigue

You may also have trouble with sleeping and cognitive function, such as concentration. Some people even develop moodiness, such as being irritable or angry.

Seeking help for whiplash is important

If any of the above symptoms sound familiar, it’s very important that you come see us for a full evaluation. Many people struggle with ongoing and long-term issues due to unidentified (and untreated) whiplash.

After our evaluation, which includes a review of your symptoms and advanced imaging to look closely at your cervical spine, we can devise the best plan for healing your whiplash.

This plan may include the following:

We monitor your progress along the way to ensure that you don’t push your cervical spine during this fragile time.

If you’re at all on the fence about whether to seek help, we feel it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your spine. For expert diagnosis and treatment of your whiplash, contact our Jonesboro, Georgia, office to schedule an appointment.