Although many people don’t assume that whiplash is very serious, the truth is that it can be much more than a sore neck or a few days of tension in the shoulders. Whiplash can be a sign of how serious your collision was and may point to more serious injuries such as a slipped disk in your neck or damage to the tendons.
The neck pain that is associated with whiplash can take days or weeks to resolve in minor cases. In more severe cases, the pain may persist for much longer and could require physical therapy and other treatments.
What are some of the symptoms of whiplash?
Whiplash symptoms aren’t limited to tension in the shoulders, pain the neck or headaches. Additional symptoms that may be a result of whiplash include:
- Short-term memory losses
- Low back pain
- Arm pain
- Trouble concentrating
Why would these happen? These symptoms could be a combination of whiplash and a brain injury or simply a result of nerve damage, impingement or dysfunction.
Should you take whiplash seriously?
While most cases of whiplash do resolve over time, the reality is that more serious whiplash injuries may require medical treatment. Your body was thrown to the side or forward very quickly, and the whipping motion you suffered as it returned to its position was damaging. At the very least, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital to have a medical provider examine you. They will check for injuries such as:
- Damage to the facet joints
- Disc injuries
- Nerve damage or bruising
- Muscular injuries
Many of these injuries can be treated, and they can be treated effectively if you seek treatment soon after a collision. Waiting could result in additional pain and dysfunction due to swelling and the repeated use of an injured part of your body.
After a collision, go to the hospital. Even if you aren’t sure if you’re hurt, remember that an exam is important. Whiplash could be a delayed-onset injury that takes a few days to appear, but a medical provider will be able to identify and treat it sooner.