Whiplash – A Small Injury with Big Side Effects; What to Do?

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Small Injury with Big Side Effects

When we speak about whiplash a reduced range of motion instantly pops into our head commonly based in the upper region of our body i.e. the neck. This muscular injury often referred to as a cervical acceleration-deceleration is one of the most common and frequently occurring injuries in an accident.

How does whiplash occur?

A whiplash comes to action when a human body is forced to move forward and backward in one sudden jerk. This jerk ends up breaking the soft tissues and ligaments in your neck making it very difficult to move without hurting yourself and grunting. We can also say in easier words that it is a “forceful, sudden, to and fro movement”.

Now, we must understand that this injury can occur due to any form of movement where contact between two human bodies or two bodies carrying them occur. This can be an auto collision or maybe contact sports like football or merely two people physically fighting with each other.

To make it clearer, let’s discuss some of the most common reasons why whiplash is caused.

  • Roller coasters and other amusement parks Rides
  • Sliding injuries
  • Bike accidents
  • Skiing Incidents Contact-sports (e.g. wrestling, basketball, extreme sports, Karate, etc.).

Common symptoms of whiplash

Treating whiplash can only be processed with the intensity of symptoms at hand. Whiplash effects may be prolonged after an original accident by 24 hours or longer. Nevertheless, patients with whiplash will experience the following symptoms one or more days after the incident, usually within the first few days:

  • Neck pain and stiffness in the neck
  • Headache and fatigue
  • Pain in the shoulder and sometimes arms
  • Pain in the lower region of the spine
  • Tingling and numbness in arms and hands
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Mood swings
  • Irritation
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Constant headache

Medical Diagnosis of Whiplash

For your doctor, treating whiplash is a common task. As soon as the pain starts kicking in, you need to head straight to the doctor and seek medical attention. Your doctor will run a series of tests and procedures that will help him determine the intensity of the injury at hand.

Usually, the doctor would ask you question about the injuries, such as how it happened, whether you feel pain and whether the pain is flat, shooting or intense. You can also perform a physical examination to check the range of motion and to search for sensitivities.

Your physician can prescribe an X-ray to ensure that your discomfort is not correlated with any new injuries or diseases such as arthritis. More examination, such as CT scan and MRI, allows the specialist to assess any soft tissue, backbone or nerve damage or inflammation. Many imaging studies, such as diffuse tensor imaging (DTI) or positron emissions (PET scan) may be useful, especially if a brain injury happens. Such measures aim to identify and assess the degree of brain injury or other regions. This generally concludes that as soon as the problem starts arising, it is crucial to see the doctor immediately.

Treatment of whiplash injury

Once your doctor has determined the injury, they will strive towards inducing a proper treatment plan based on the severity and complexity of the injury at hand. It is obvious that the treatment plan is different for everyone hence; you can never identify on your own that how intensely you have been hurt.

Usually, the treatment plan for whiplash is quite simple. The doctors prescribe medication on an initial stage like aspirin or Tylenol. If the injury is severe than this then the doctors will bring it up a notch by prescribing prescription medicines like your regular pain killers or muscle relaxants that would help you have a comfortable sleep and also reduce the effect of pain.

Is Physical Therapy a Yes?

Physical therapy is an essential part of recovery in contrast to medications. You may want to use ice and heat to create strength and flexibility in your neck and to do simple exercises. Exercise good posture and practice methods of calming to reduce stress and healing of your spine.

In case you are not aware of how to treat yourself and especially your neck, it is always recommended to seek the services of a professional physical therapy doctor. A physical therapy specialist derives plans and procedures according to the state of health which would help you recover from the cause completely.

What if we don’t get whiplash treated?

Even the short-term whiplash signs do not appear immediately. In many instances, such signs take days, or even weeks to progress when some patients feel them just minutes or hours after an accident. Therefore, it is extremely important to see a doctor right after an accident even if you are feeling perfectly alright.

If the problem is not rooted out in the initial stages, it can grow and develop into something much worse. In a few weeks or months, certain instances of Whiplash can settle particularly if the person appropriately cares promptly post-injury. But some cases may persist for several years, or even a lifetime, where whiplash is not treated alright or even neglected.

Some of the most common “long-term” symptoms of a whiplash injury can be categorized as the following:

  • Chronic discomfort of neck and shoulders
  • Distant or persistent ears or pressure of the upper or lower back Intense pain
  • Dullness, fatigue, or tactile symptoms in the head, arm, or legs
  • Difficulties sleeping memory problems Difficulties with concentrating permanently; lasting personality changes
  • A distinction of pain in the spine;
  • Constant hurts and hardening of the neck and shoulders

These might not sound as intense as a brain injury or cancer but suffering from such chronic injuries regularly certainly leaves a mark on your health and personality.


Whiplash injury is a commonly occurring injury where the soft tissues are broken and it leads to chronic pain that if not treated on time can lead to lifelong health and personality problems. It is crucial to visit your doctor right after an accident.