If you are experiencing unexplained pain in your neck in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, you may be suffering from whiplash. This is particularly likely if the motor vehicle accident was a rear-ender.
In the majority of cases, whiplash goes away within a few weeks with proper rest, medication and exercise. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is possible to wind up with chronic neck pain and other complications from whiplash.
What causes it and what are the symptoms?
Whiplash happens when something throws your head quickly backward and then forward. This is exactly the motion your body will make during a rear-end accident, particularly if the car behind you was going at a high speed when it made impact with the rear of your vehicle. When this happens, you may sustain an injury to the bones in your spine, the ligaments, muscles and other tissues of the neck or the discs between your bones.
It is common for the symptoms of whiplash to develop within a few days of injury. Mild signs of whiplash may include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, tenderness in the shoulder, arms or upper back and tingling and numb feelings in the arms. More serious side effects of whiplash may include blurred vision, sleep disturbances, ringing sounds in the ears, memory problems and depression.
When should I see a doctor?
If you suspect that you have whiplash in the aftermath of an accident, you should see a doctor. It is possible for you to confuse whiplash with other injuries, and a correct diagnosis is key to recovery.