Whiplash: Frequently Asked Questions

You were recently in a car accident and are experiencing some aches and pains, which is not uncommon. However, as the hours and days after the accident go by, you are beginning to experience worsening symptoms and are not sure if there is something more serious going on, including whiplash. Whiplash is a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention and aftercare.

Here are a few frequently asked questions you might have about whiplash.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash occurs when there is damage to the soft tissue surrounding the neck and a misalignment of the cervical spinal column. The damage is caused by an event that causes a person's head and neck to whip backward and forward suddenly. Many cases of whiplash are caused by a car accident, although whiplash can also occur during a fall or an accident at work.

Common symptoms of whiplash include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Jaw and shoulder pain

The symptoms of whiplash can manifest several days, weeks, or even months after the car accident or event that caused the whiplash.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Whiplash?

Documents your symptoms and visit your doctor immediately if you suspect you have whiplash. Your doctor will ask you several questions about how the accident occurred and perform a number of tests to diagnose whiplash, including a physical exam and an X-ray. If whiplash is diagnosed, there are several treatment options available.

What Whiplash Treatments Are Available?

Your physician will offer several treatment options, depending upon the severity of your symptoms. For example, while you are at home, your doctor may recommend applying heat or ice to the neck, shoulders, and head. Over-the-counter medications, prescription pain relievers, and prescription muscle relaxers are other great options.

However, the best way to find relief for the symptoms associated with whiplash is through your chiropractor. Because whiplash involves damage to the soft tissue and a cervical misalignment, your chiropractor will have the tools, knowledge, and education necessary to help you find relief.

Your chiropractor can help you find additional treatments that you might not have considered, such as massages and exercises that are specially designed to help strengthen your neck and lessen your discomfort.

Whiplash is a potentially serious condition that occurs when there is a sudden jolt and damage to the spine and neck's soft tissue. However, with proper care and help from your chiropractor, it is possible to find relief from the symptoms of whiplash.

To learn more about whiplash treatment, contact a chiropractor.