Neck Injuries FAQs
Whiplash refers to an injury to the neck, head and shoulders after being subjected to a snapping motion, either forward and back or side to side. These neck injuries are frequently caused by traffic accidents.
The initial symptom is pain and soreness in the neck area.
I was in a car accident this morning, but I don’t have any discomfort. Can I assume I don’t have whiplash?
No, because immediately after a whiplash accident victims are often unaware that they have been injured. You may be experiencing only slight discomfort and/or stiffness in your neck. Whiplash usually doesn’t become apparent for at least 12 to 24 hours after the accident.
This is done to rule out more serious spinal injuries. Injuries such as whiplash are not usually seen on an x-ray.
What if the x-ray results are negative. Are there other tests that can be performed that will show other injuries to my spine?
Yes. Often doctors will order an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) or a CT scan (CAT scan).
Symptoms which include pain, numbness or tingling which radiates to the arm or other parts of the body may indicate that your injury is more than a simple sprain or strain. Symptoms from minor injuries may subside within 2-4 weeks. If your symptoms persist, or you believe your injury is significant, consult a physician for further evaluation.
It is not completely avoidable, but checking your head restraint is a good precautionary measure. Head restraints should be high enough so that they’re directly behind and very close to the back of your head. Some vehicles have headrests that are very low and this could make you susceptible to this type of injury.