What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

Accidents that result in whiplash happen every day. If you’ve never experienced whiplash, you may wonder, “What does whiplash feel like?” Learning about the injury is key to helping you recognize when it’s time to seek medical attention. 

What Does Whiplash Feel Like? Understanding Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is one of, if not the most, common type of neck injury. It occurs when a forceful impact causes a sudden and rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck. The injury gets its name because the motion mimics that of the cracking of a whip.

When you sustain a whiplash injury, it is usually quick and unexpected. You often don’t see it coming until it’s already occurred, and then you begin to feel the effects of the injury.

While symptoms of whiplash can vary greatly, some of the most common signs of the injury include:

  • Intense neck pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headaches that usually start at the base of the skull
  • Diminished range of motion in the neck
  • Pain or tenderness in the neck, shoulders, or upper back
  • Numbness or tingling running down the arms
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Issues with memory or concentration

But what does whiplash feel like at different levels of severity? It’ll likely depend on the grade of the injury. To determine the severity of your whiplash, a medical professional can perform a physical examination and may recommend diagnostic testing, like X-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan, to provide a proper diagnosis. 

Your whiplash injury will range from a grade 0 to a grade 4. The grades represent the following:

  • Grade 0: No injury to the neck and surrounding areas
  • Grade 1: Only pain in the neck
  • Grade 2: Pain in the neck plus other signs of injury
  • Grade 3: Pain in the neck plus other signs of injury and potential neurological effects
  • Grade 4: Significant pain and signs of serious neurological effects

If you suffer a significant blow to the head, neck, or body that could cause injury and you begin to experience the signs of whiplash, it’s best to seek medical attention. Receiving medical care can help doctors diagnose your injury and determine the severity so they can begin to provide the appropriate treatment. 

Treatment for Whiplash

As with most injuries, the treatment for whiplash depends on the extent of the injury. Additionally, certain factors influence the type of treatment your doctor may recommend, including:

  • Your medical history and overall health
  • Your tolerance for therapies, procedures, and medications
  • Your preferences

Treatment for whiplash can include:

  • Rest
  • Cold therapy
  • A cervical collar to limit movement
  • Pain medication
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy

In the most severe cases, whiplash may require surgery if the injury affects the area’s vertebrae, ligaments, or nerves. 

Potential Health Complications Associated with Whiplash

Many victims of whiplash can recover well with proper medical care. However, in some of the more challenging cases, a whiplash injury can result in complications and long-term effects.

Some of the lasting health consequences of whiplash could include:

  • Chronic neck pain and stiffness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Dizziness (vertigo)
  • Severe headaches
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms or hands
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Blurry vision
  • Memory problems

The physical and mental issues a whiplash injury could cause can be enough to interfere with your life. 

How Does Whiplash Happen?

Whiplash can happen in several ways, but it is often the product of an accident. Some of the most common types of accidents that may cause whiplash include:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Semitruck accidents
  • Rideshare accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents

Worst of all, when you experience any of the above types of accidents, whiplash is usually not the only type of injury you may experience. Sustaining whiplash, along with other types of injuries, can exacerbate the physical, mental, and emotional suffering you’ll endure. 

After Sustaining Whiplash in an Accident, Seek Legal Guidance from a Personal Injury Attorney

If you sustain a whiplash injury as a result of someone else’s negligent actions, you could have a valid claim for compensation. Pursuing justice and financial recovery can help you deal with the financial burdens you’ll likely face as a result of your injuries and related losses.

Also see: How Long After an Accident Can Whiplash Symptoms Appear?

Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including cartruck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!