What are Whiplash Symptoms?

Most people think whiplash goes as far as neck or spine pain, stiffness and soreness. While those are the obvious symptoms of whiplash, they can also be very misleading. Because these symptoms may go away after a short period of time, while damage caused by whiplash may stay for much longer (in some cases, it can be permanent without proper treatment).

In this article, we’d like to shed some light on some of the lesser known whiplash symptoms. It’s our hope that this will encourage people to seek medical treatment, even if they feel it’s unnecessary after a few “pain free” weeks.

The Obvious Symptoms

Pain – the most obvious of whiplash symptoms. Pain is an incredible messenger. It says, in terms no one can ignore, “something’s wrong!”

But sometimes we do ignore it. Because pain is like a puzzle. We don’t always know what causes it. And sometimes it feels like getting to the root of the pain is more of a hassle than it’s worth. Funny, because this doesn’t make health problems magically go away, although we’d like to think it does.

Problems ignored are still problems.

With whiplash, pain will generally occur in the spine or neck regions. There are three types of neck pain:

1) General Pain and Soreness – Much like waking up after sleeping in an uncomfortable position, whiplash is accompanied by a “stiff neck.” But it’s more amplified than when you wake up from an uncomfortable night’s sleep. And it persists.

2) Restricted Movement – It’s very difficult to use your body’s full range of motion when suffering from whiplash. This is because any sudden or major movements will provoke sudden pain from the neck or spinal region.

3) Inflammation – Inflammation generally follows whiplash injury. When muscle tears, chemicals are released which cause inflammation. Persistent pain generally means inflammation, which means you’ve likely experienced multiple tears in muscle tissue.

Less Obvious Symptoms

It’s important to know about less obvious symptoms, because these can often be attributed to causes other than whiplash. So you’ll treat these symptoms as separate problems, without diagnosing the true problem: the whiplash.

1) Headaches – Yes, whiplash can cause headaches. How can you tell if they’re caused by whiplash? If they occur frequently after a physic-based injury and continue at a rate unseen before the injury.

2) Check your Mood – Are you experiencing more mood swings than before? If so, whiplash is likely the cause.

3) Memory Issues – Whiplash can also cause memory issues, including more frequent short-term memory loss. In the days following your accident, keep this in mind. If you find yourself forgetting things more than usual, your accident likely caused some long-lasting damage.

4) Hand “Pins and Needles” – Tingling or “pins and needles” in the hands or arms are also a sign of whiplash. There are many nerves in the neck which go through the entire body. In whiplash, some of these may be damaged, causing numbness or tingling where there was none before.

5) Fatigue – Feeling tired more often than usual? If this persists for several days and it never happened before, it’s likely as a result of whiplash.

As you can see, there are many different symptoms associated with whiplash. Your neck and spine are a highway for nerves throughout your body. So if your neck or spine get injured, it will affect more than just the neck and spinal region.

The best approach to take is to track your progress following an accident. For example, if you rode on a roller coaster and it jarred your neck, keep track of how your body is reacting over the next few days. If you’re experiencing many of the above symptoms, chances are you have whiplash.

And what should you do if you have whiplash? Get checked immediately! Remember, whiplash, if left untreated, can cause many permanent or long-lasting issues which may affect you for the rest of your life. Bite the bullet, see a doctor. You’ll thank yourself later!