5 Facts About Whiplash

If you’ve been in a car accident and feel pain in your neck, it may be whiplash.

Whiplash is a very common injury, usually caused by a vehicle collision. The head can be thrown back and forth, or side to side, causing neck pain, headaches, and other symptoms. Most people have heard of whiplash but here are five facts that you may not know about this common condition.

1. It doesn’t take a lot of force

Whiplash can occur in low-speed collisions, even at speeds as low as 5 to 10 mph. The severity of the injury often depends on whether you are properly restrained. Anyone riding in a vehicle should be wearing a seat belt and children should be secured in size-appropriate child safety seats.

2. Aging increases the risk of whiplash injuries

Age can be a factor when it comes to whiplash, especially those who already have neck problems such as arthritis. Older people may experience more serious whiplash than someone younger, as their muscles lose flexibility and strength, their movements are more limited and their discs and ligaments are not as flexible. This can cause serious damage when their neck is whipped back and forth.

3. X-Rays don’t always catch fractures

When having your neck checked by X-ray, it’s possible that a fracture will not be visible. Some fractures are not visible until they start to heal. You can still suffer the pain of whiplash even if the fracture is not visible. You should still be checked by a doctor if you show signs of whiplash.

4. Neck pain isn’t the only symptom

Whiplash can cause more symptoms than just neck, head and shoulder pain. Some other common symptoms include numbness in your arms and hands, nausea, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, blurred vision and neck swelling.

Some symptoms can occur immediately but others can take days or even weeks to develop. Keep a detailed record of any symptoms for your doctor.


5. You don’t have to be in a car to get whiplash

Although most cases of whiplash occur because of a vehicle collision, it’s also possible to get whiplash in other ways. You can get whiplash from a fall or from high impact sports, such as boxing, football, and skiing.

If you’ve been in a collision, you should always see a doctor if you experience neck, shoulder or head pain. These symptoms can happen immediately or can come much later after your accident. Most people will experience a relief of symptoms within a month of a collision but you should always seek the advice of a medical professional if you believe that you may have whiplash.

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