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What you need to know about whiplash

There are many injuries people can experience from an auto accident. One of the most common and one everyone needs to look out for regardless of the severity of the crash is whiplash. It occurs when a person experiences rapid, intense force that whips the neck. Tissues, joints and muscles can sustain damage from such a collision. 

No matter how fine you feel after a motor vehicle accident, you should still see a doctor right after the collision. In many cases, it will take up to 24 hours for the symptoms of whiplash to appear, but with an MRI and other devices, a doctor can detect damage sooner. 

Common symptoms

You should pay attention to anything that does not feel normal after a car crash. Some typical symptoms you can expect in the immediate aftermath include jaw pain, fatigue, dizziness, stiffness in the neck, tinnitus and visual disturbances. However, if the condition remains untreated, then you can experience much more severe issues, such as:

  • Emotional problems
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression


When you visit a doctor after a car accident, he or she will ask you if you feel anything out of the ordinary. The doctor will also most likely take X-rays of the neck and spine to see if anything has bruised. To determine if any injuries have occurred within the soft tissue, the doctor will need to take an MRI.


For some people, the signs of whiplash will slowly go away on their own. A physician may need to prescribe pain relievers so the patient can manage the discomfort until that time comes. The doctor may also recommend the patient undergo physical therapy and apply a heating compress to the sore area until the symptoms subside. If the symptoms remain for at least three months, then it is important to follow up with the doctor to determine what else is necessary. 

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