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Common Signs and Symptoms of Whiplash

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

Whiplash is a neck injury that typically occurs as the result of rapid back and forth movement of the neck. For example, if you’re stopped at a traffic light and a vehicle unexpectedly hits you from behind, it has the potential to cause this injury.

While some people begin to experience whiplash signs and symptoms immediately after an accident, this doesn’t always happen. It’s possible that symptoms can remain dormant for several hours or days before coming on in severity.

Here are the five most common signs that you’ve suffered whiplash:

  • Neck pain typically accompanied by stiffness

  • Lost range of motion, such as the inability to turn your head from side to side

  • Pain that increases when you attempt to move your neck

  • Severe (often lingering) headache

  • Pain that extends into your upper back, arms and/or shoulders

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, don’t hesitate to receive a medical evaluation. Your doctor can conduct a physical examine, while also ordering imaging tests for a closer look at your injury. These include:

  • MRI

  • CT scan

  • X-ray

Based on their findings, your doctor will then work with you to implement a treatment and recovery plan.

Some of the things you can expect in regards to treatment include:

  • Plenty of rest

  • Medication to manage the pain

  • Exercise

  • Physical therapy

  • Neck brace

How long does it take to recover?

It’s your hope that you recover within a matter of weeks, but there’s always a chance your symptoms could drag on for longer. Most people heal within six to eight weeks of the injury, but others experience pain for the rest of their life.

Any injury to your back or neck, including whiplash, has the potential to change your life. Even if you eventually make a full recovery, you’ll experience plenty of pain as a result of the accident.

The biggest mistake you can make is assuming you can treat whiplash at home, without medical intervention. Doing this can cause unnecessary pain and suffering, as well as other injuries.

Once you understand the extent of your injury and how to treat it, focus on the steps you can take to hold the negligent party responsible.