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Chiropractic Care for Whiplash
Dr. Summer TurnerNov 2, 2018 10:38:03 AM6 min read

How Do I Know If I Have Whiplash?

10 Symptoms to Determine If You Have Whiplash

Although many injuries are often noticeable right away, especially after a car accident, whiplash is one of those injuries that may take hours or days to present symptoms during normal activities.

This makes it difficult for the victim to know that it is there after the initial injury. 

However, there are some telltale signs of whiplash that all accident victims should look out for to know if a Whiplash Injury has occurred.

In this blog, we explore the 10 symptoms of whiplash and how to treat this injury (as soon as possible!)

Tables of contents:

Whiplash is a Neck Injury that most often occurs when there is a forceful or rapid back and forth motion of the neck, almost like the cracking of a whip, or a fast moving roller coaster. 

Whiplash is a common injury that occurs during a motor vehicle accident causing severe neck pain, most often occurring in rear-end car accidents. The backward and forward motion take the ligaments and muscles in the neck beyond their normal range of motion, resulting in neck pain and muscle spasms.

Whiplash injuries in the neck can range from mild to severe, however, it's always best to receive Chiropractic Treatment after an injury like this occurs to ensure that it does not worsen to whiplash-associated disorders, or linger for an extended period of time.


How Do I Get Whiplash?

Whiplash typically occurs when your head is forcefully and quickly thrown backward and then forward. This motion can injure bones in the spine, disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of the neck.

Whiplash may result from:

  • Auto accidents. Rear-end collisions are a major cause of whiplash.
  • Physical abuse or assault. Whiplash can occur if you are punched or shaken. It's one of the injuries seen in shaken baby syndrome.
  • Contact sports. Football tackles and other sports-related collisions can sometimes cause whiplash.
  • Sudden Movements. Whiplash is more common with sudden movements if there was pre-existing injury.

Common Symptoms of Whiplash

The signs of whiplash will usually begin to present themselves within 24 hours of suffering from the injury.

Common symptoms may include neck pain and neck stiffness with limited range of motion. You may also experience upper back pain.

This could range from a very mild, dull ache to severe pain, tight muscles, and stiffness in the neck. 

The neck muscles will often become stiff as the body's way of limiting movement and range of motion in order to protect the neck from becoming hurt further.

Depending on the severity of the injury, it's not uncommon for any movement of the neck to become very painful. 

In some victims, the stiffness and pain may even be experienced in the shoulder blades or in the area between the shoulder blades. 

10 symptoms or common signs of whiplash include

Blurred Vision
Sleep Disturbances
Difficulty Concentrating
Memory Problems 
Neck Pain
Worsening Pain with Neck Movement

These signs and symptoms do not guarantee that you have suffered from a Whiplash injury, but they are likely symptoms you may experience if you have.

To know for you what is the cause of your suffering, you will need to be seen by an experienced Chiropractor. 


How is Whiplash Diagnosed?

Generally, whiplash can be diagnosed clinically by a thorough history and physical exam by your chiropractor.

In most cases of whiplash, injuries are to the soft tissues of the neck such as the discs, muscles, and ligaments around the top of your spinal cord, and cannot be seen on X-rays.

Specialized imaging tests, such as CT scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be needed to accurately diagnose whiplash, but are not required for the diagnosis.

How Long Does It Take To Heal From Whiplash?

The time it takes for symptoms to go away from whiplash varies greatly by person.

The majority of whiplash injuries heal within six weeks after the injury. However, some report to have neck pain after ten years. Others have symptoms for the rest of their lives resulting in chronic pain.

The initial level of pain that is felt within the first three weeks after suffering from whiplash has been found to be a good indication of whether or not a person will recover.

People who report severe pain have a significantly decreased chance of recovering fully.

Those with preexisting conditions, such as neck pain, shoulder pain, arthritis in the neck, and headaches, generally have longer recovery times or suffer long-term effects.

Up to 75% of those with decreased movement in their neck are still disabled after one year.

In addition, instability in the neck increases your risk of re-injury in the future.

Chiropractic Care for Whiplash 

When you are involved in an accident, it is always highly recommended that you seek medical treatment for a physical examination as quickly as possible.

Chiropractic Care for Whiplash

 Chiropractors are your best choice for soft tissue injuries.

If you go to the ER or Urgent Care, that's great if your bleeding or think you have a broken bone.

However, if you have a whiplash injury, oftentimes they will not diagnose you properly and just hand you muscle relaxants as a pain medication that could increase other risk factors.

While pain medications may seem appealing up-front, all they do is mask the pain that you are feeling which most often leads to people putting off the medical care that they actually need until the pain is much more unbearable. 

When it comes to a whiplash injury, the longer you wait to seek medical treatment, the worse your injury can become, and you run the risk of suffering for much longer because you did not receive treatment in a timely manner. 

Even if you are not experiencing whiplash symptoms after your accident, you are encouraged to seek chiropractic care.

Your doctor will be able to diagnose and begin treatment of your injury before it can worsen or become a chronic problem. 

Chiropractic Care at Arrowhead Clinic

If you've recently been involved in an accident, and you think you may be suffering from whiplash, visit the expert chiropractors at the Arrowhead Clinic.

The chiropractors at the Arrowhead Clinic are experts at treating whiplash injuries, and they've been serving their respective communities for over 40 years. 

If you were involved in an accident, do not put off seeking the treatment of an experienced Chiropractor. 

Our whiplash injury chiropractors offer a free consultation to see how we can best assist with your recovery. 

During your free consultation, your chiropractor will perform a complete physical exam and review your medical history so they can design a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Your treatment plan will likely include spinal adjustments, physical therapy, and nutritional recommendations.

The longer you wait to schedule your free consultation, the worse your condition will get resulting in simple tasks increasing in difficulty. You don't want them to turn into a chronic issue.

Click below for your free consultation if you were in an accident and believe that you're suffering from a Whiplash Injury.

Free Chiropractic Consultation | Arrowhead Clinic


Next blog: Common Causes of Whiplash Injuries

Original article published here.


Dr. Summer Turner

Dr. Turner is Arrowhead Clinic’s Atlanta Chiropractor. She is originally from North Carolina but has traveled all over the country pursuing her career as a Chiropractor by treating people who have been injured in accidents and people who suffer from chronic pain. She has been with Arrowhead for many years, fulfilling her desire to help accident victims and patients who suffer from chronic pain conditions. Dr. Turner is well-versed in chiropractic care with an emphasis on sports-related therapies. She had the opportunity to train under the chiropractor for the Carolina Panthers to complete her Master's in Sports Rehabilitation. She studied under two more chiropractors, which allowed her to sharpen her skills and adjusting techniques. Dr. Turner is certified in several soft tissue techniques, including Active Release Technique (ART) and Fascial Distortion Model (FDM), as well as a movement diagnosis technique called Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). Dr. Turner believes that movement is life and, as such, plays a critical role in overall health. She has always been passionate about helping people improve their quality of life, be it through chiropractic care, nutritional counseling, and/or a variation of physical modalities. She has helped many individuals achieve a healthier life. A recent review left by one of Dr. Turner’s patients stated, “Great customer service from staff. Quick and effective service from the doctor.” Dr. Turner offers free, same-day consultations to anyone in pain. She is available for appointments Monday-Friday from 9 a.m to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.