Think You Have Whiplash? Here’s How You Can Know for Sure

Think You Have Whiplash? Here’s How You Can Know for Sure

Any forceful back-and-forth movement of your head may cause whiplash. Getting rear-ended in an accident is one of the most common causes of this neck injury. However, you can also develop whiplash from a hard tackle playing football or a slip and fall that jerks your head.

At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our highly skilled physicians, Dr. Ojedapo‌ ‌Ojeyemi ‌and‌ Dr. Matthew Roh, are experts at diagnosing and treating neck pain from whiplash injuries.

If your neck is stiff and sore after a car crash or fall, you might have whiplash. Here, we share with you how you can know for sure. 

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is an injury to the neck. Your neck, or cervical spine, is made up of stacked vertebral bones cushioned with intervertebral discs and held together by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The design of your neck protects your spinal cord and gives you the ability to move your head in several directions. 

Any forceful movement of your head that overextends your neck may damage the bones, discs, ligaments, tendons, or muscles in your cervical spine, resulting in whiplash. The impact of a car crash, for example, causes your head to violently move backward and then forward. This sudden, unexpected motion strains the structures of your neck, causing the injury.

Whiplash: Signs and symptoms

It’s possible to have whiplash and not have any symptoms. Or, you may not have symptoms until hours or even days after your injury. Many people walk away from a car accident feeling fine but have neck pain and stiffness 12 hours later. Could it be whiplash? 

Other symptoms of whiplash include:

The thing with whiplash is that it also causes symptoms you may not associate with a neck injury, like ringing in the ears (tinnitus), difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping.

How to know for sure

If you have any of these symptoms or if you think you may have a neck injury from a car crash, fall, or sports injury, the only way to know for sure is to see a medical professional. Because whiplash may involve any parts that make up your neck, symptoms and damage vary.

Ignoring your injury won’t help. Though whiplash may resolve in a few days or weeks, it also could get worse and become a chronic pain condition. 

Getting your whiplash checked out by a pain management expert ensures that you get the right diagnosis and treatment plan so you can heal quickly and properly. 

Despite what you might see on TV, immobilizing your neck with a neck brace isn’t the primary treatment for whiplash. In fact, not moving your neck following a whiplash injury may make things worse. Gentle stretching, physical therapy, massage therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications can ease your symptoms and heal your injury.

Do you think you have whiplash? We can let you know for sure. Contact Orthopedic & Wellness at the location most convenient to you to schedule an appointment with us today. You can call the office or use our online booking tool to make your appointment.

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