Each year in the United States, there are more than 5.25 million reported accidents on our roadways, many resulting in injury, or worse. While there are lots of different ways you can get hurt in a car accident, whiplash certainly accounts for more than its fair share.
If you’ve been in an automobile collision and you’re worried about whiplash, your worry isn’t misplaced. At Michael Bazel, M.D., we offer primary and urgent care from our three locations in the greater Los Angeles area. Dr. Bazel and our team specialize in car accident injuries.
Here, we take a look at what happens when you incur whiplash and five signs that point toward a problem that warrants a closer look.
Whiplash is an apt name for this injury, which occurs when your head is rocked violently back and forth, such as when you’re hit from behind in your car. This sudden back-and-forth movement can:
- Compress your cervical spine and damage vertebrae
- Strain ligaments in your neck
- Damage nerves
- Pull muscles in your neck, shoulders, and upper back
Whiplash can be tricky, as you might not feel any symptoms in the immediate aftermath of the accident. In most cases, symptoms develop within 24 hours, but they can be delayed by days, or even months, so pay close attention to your body after a car accident.
Common signs of whiplash
While whiplash symptoms can depend on the severity of the rocking motion and your general health, most people with whiplash develop one or more of the following signs:
1. Neck pain
The most common complaint is a fairly obvious one — pain in your neck. This pain can also present as a stiffness that prevents you from moving your head easily, as well as tenderness in your neck. While the pain is often in your neck, it can also extend down into your shoulders.
If you’re feeling any vertigo or dizziness after a car accident, it’s essential you come see us. This symptom is related to whiplash, as well as concussion, and it’s important to know which you might be dealing with.
3. Numbness and tingling
There are eight pairs of cervical nerves that exit your spine in your neck, and if any of these nerves are compressed during the accident, you may experience symptoms such as numbness or tingling in your neck, upper back, and upper arms.
4. Blurry vision
If you’re having vision problems, such as blurriness, this symptom might indicate whiplash or a concussion. As with dizziness, this neurological development is one you shouldn’t ignore.
Headaches often accompany whiplash and might be neurological in nature, or they could be tension-related.
If you’ve been in a car accident and you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important you come see us for a full evaluation. Whiplash can be very serious and may lead to ongoing problems if your condition isn’t treated properly from the start.
For prompt and expert diagnosis and treatment of whiplash and other car accident injuries, call one of our conveniently located offices in Panorama City, Bell, or Valley Village, California, to schedule an appointment today. Or you can request an appointment online anytime.