How do I Know if I Have Whiplash?

One of the most common injuries that result from a car accident is whiplash. However, many people do not fully understand what whiplash is or how devastating it can be. Today, we want to give an overview of what whiplash is as well as what you need to do in the aftermath of a car crash that causes whiplash.

For the latest reporting year in Tennessee, there were more than 67,000 vehicle crash injuries and 1,063 fatalities. Car accidents are inevitable, and we want you to seek treatment for any injuries you sustain in a crash.

How is a whiplash injury caused?

Whiplash gets its name from the way the injury occurs. Whiplash can occur anytime force is exerted on your body that forces your head to whip forward and backward quickly and violently. The most common cause of whiplash injuries in car crashes. Anyone in a car crash is vulnerable to whiplash injuries, especially in a rear-end or head-on collision or is struck while at a stop.

What are the signs and symptoms of whiplash?

There is a wide variety of symptoms that a whiplash injury victim can suffer from. One of the most important things we want you to know is that you may not feel any pain from a whiplash injury right away. In many cases, whiplash symptoms do not occur for hours or even days after a crash occurs.

  • Neck and upper back pain are the most common complaints after a car crash. This can also include limited motion of the neck. When whiplash occurs, muscles, nerves, vertebrae, ligaments, and discs in your neck and upper back can all be damaged. Pain may radiate up the neck and down your shoulders and arms. If any spinal nerves are torn during a crash, a victim may suffer from a serious spinal cord injury.
  • Lower back pain can also be present after a whiplash incident. While the lower back is not “whipped” around as much as the upper back and neck, it is still connected to the nerves, muscles, and tendons that are.
  • Headaches and dizziness are common injuries after vehicle crashes and are signs of a whiplash injury. Any injury to the spine, muscles, or ligaments can cause pain to radiate to the head.
  • Serious brain injuries can also occur in a whiplash incident. Cerebrospinal fluid surrounds our brains to cushion them when an impact occurs. When the brain is jostled around due to whiplash, we can experience concussions or more serious traumatic brain injuries. Signs of a concussion or TBI include confusion, trouble concentrating, mood changes, trouble sleeping, dizziness, forgetfulness, and extreme headaches.

Whiplash symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to months. Severe cases of whiplash have longer-lasting effects.

Should I seek treatment for whiplash injuries?

If you have been in a Nashville car accident, you should seek medical treatment. Only a doctor can confirm a whiplash diagnosis and prescribe treatment. These injuries usually require an X-ray or another imaging test to confirm. You may not be able to work for some time after your accident. By establishing that the injury was caused by the crash, you can work to secure compensation through the insurance companies or through a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver.