Did you know that whiplash is actually one of the most common car accident injuries? You might even be surprised to hear that you can suffer a whiplash injury from what seems like a minor car accident, like a rear-end collision. When another driver hits your car from behind, it causes your head and neck to snap forward and backward suddenly and forcefully. This can damage the soft tissues in your neck and lead to increasingly painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Visit car accident doctors near you to get checked out for a possible whiplash injury after a car accident and help avoid any long-term pain and discomfort caused by this far-too-common injury. When left untreated, whiplash can lead to chronic pain and even neurological problems. Find out how neck pain and neurological symptoms relate to a whiplash injury.
What Is Whiplash?
Even with all the latest technology and safety features, the sudden impact between two vehicles can still lead to an injury. While a seat belt protects you from shoulder to hip and prevents you from getting ejected from the vehicle, it cannot protect your head and neck. The sudden and forceful motion from the collision can cause stretching and tearing in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your neck. Whiplash is also tricky to diagnose because you might not notice any symptoms right away. In fact, it can take hours or even days for whiplash symptoms to fully appear after a car accident. The shock and stress of getting into a car accident can prevent you from fully feeling pain and other symptoms. It can also take a while for the pain and stiffness to set in after an injury like whiplash.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Be on the lookout for these common signs and symptoms of whiplash after a car accident. Whiplash can cause neck pain and stiffness that develop slowly over hours or even days after the initial accident. You may experience headaches, dizziness, and fatigue from a whiplash injury. Other symptoms of whiplash can include blurred vision, difficulty concentrating or remembering, and mood changes like irritability. As a whiplash injury sets in, you will start to notice pain when turning your head in certain directions. The muscles and soft tissues in your neck will start to stiffen and reduce your typical range of motion in your neck. This type of car accident injury can also lead to whiplash nerve damage symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness.
Whiplash and Neurological Symptoms
If you start to notice tingling and numbness along with pain and discomfort, then a whiplash injury may have caused neurological problems. In addition to damaging the soft tissues that support your head and neck, a whiplash injury could also cause trouble with your spine and nerves. Here are three ways whiplash could cause neurological symptoms like tingling, numbness, and weakness.
A whiplash injury could lead to a herniated disc. In between each of the vertebra in your spine are spinal discs. These discs have a tough outer shell and a soft inner nucleus that help provide cushion and support. When sudden pressure to the spine occurs, like with a whiplash injury of the neck, it could cause one of these discs to crack. Then the soft, gel-like nucleus could spill out and aggravate nearby nerves. When nerves are affected by a herniated disc, it can cause uncomfortable pain, tingling, and numbness that extend into other parts of the body.
A whiplash is one of the common pinched nerve causes. Whether due to a herniated disc or swelling and inflammation of soft tissues, a pinched nerve occurs when something compresses the nerve. Damaged soft tissues from a whiplash injury could become inflamed and swell, compressing nearby nerves and leading to a pinched nerve. If you have a pinched nerve in your neck from whiplash, it could cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness that radiates through your shoulder and into your arm and hand.
Damage to your spinal cord could also occur when you suffer whiplash in a car accident. A spinal injury can impact the central nervous system that runs through the spinal cord. You could also suffer whiplash nerve damage symptoms from a severe spinal injury. There are many different types of spinal injuries, and they can cause additional neurological symptoms like localized weakness in your extremities or even issues with your bladder or bowels.
Diagnosing Neurological Disorders Caused by a Car Accident
Visit car accident doctors near you to get an accurate diagnosis of any car accident injuries. In order to diagnose whiplash, your car accident doctor will want to know how the injury occurred, what your pain feels like, and what other symptoms you have noticed. Your doctor will perform a physical exam to assess your range of motion and identify any areas of tenderness or weakness. Diagnostic imaging tests like an X-ray or CT scan can also help rule out other injuries with similar symptoms. A diagnosis of whiplash and any other car accident injuries will help inform your treatment plan. Neurological disorders caused by a car accident can also be treated by a car accident doctor.
Treatment Options for Whiplash and Neurological Problems
Your car accident injury doctor will provide you with a personalized plan of care to address your symptoms and the root cause of your pain. Conservative approaches to treatment will include non-invasive techniques like chiropractic care. Whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and spinal issues can significantly impact your quality of life. Before resorting to more invasive procedures, your car accident doctor will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that reduces your pain and addresses your immediate injuries. Work with a team of car accident doctors who put you as the number one priority and make sure you only pay for the care you need. Don’t let whiplash long-term effects happen to you. Seek treatment as soon as possible for your car accident injuries at ProCare Medical Centers in Austin, Cedar Park, and San Antonio.