Top 10 Signs You Have Whiplash

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is any type of strain or sprain to the soft tissues of the neck and spine that results from an "acceleration deceleration" type of injury.  These injuries are most commonly seen stemming from car accidents, but can also happen with slip and falls, or other types of traumas.  The sudden backward and forward movement of the spine in these types of injuries can stretch, pinch or even tear the ligaments, muscles, nerves and discs in the affected area.  Because of the amount of force involved in car crashes, even low speed accidents with no damage to the vehicle can create significant levels of damage in the spine. 

Here are the top 10 signs that you may have whiplash stemming from a car crash:

  1. Neck Pain
  2. Headaches
  3. Pain in the mid back between the shoulder blades
  4. Shoulder pain
  5. Low Back Pain
  6. Pain, numbness, and/or tingling into the arms or hands
  7. Dizziness
  8. Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  9. Fatigue
  10. Irritability

What Should You Do After a Whiplash Injury?

If you're suffering from any of the above issues following a car accident, the first thing to do is to get your spine checked.  Your chiropractor should be able to determine the presence of whiplash associated disorders and how severe your case is.  They should also pay close attention to the biomechanics and structure of the spine to determine if any abnormalities are present or changes in alignment have occured as a result of the injury.  X-Rays are critical here, to assess for damage and spinal alignment issues simultaneously.  The good news is that most whiplash type injuries are treatable without the need for invasive procedures like surgery.  However, if your case is severe, then an MRI might be needed to assess the damage.

What Not To Do After a Whiplash Injury:

A lot of people following an accident will rely solely on medication to correct their problem.  These can include muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, or even stronger opiate based painkillers.  While these medicines may help dull the symptoms, they won't do anything to correct any underlying structural or biomechanical damage that may have occured.  And in most cases, they will actually dull your body's own protective mechanisms that will prevent you from worsening the problem.  Because of that, many times the injury is never truly corrected and people can suffer for years.

How To Get Help:

If you're dealing with pain or loss of function from a motor vehicle accident, we can help.  Whether the accident was last week or last year, we have the tools and the knowledge to properly assess the level of injury and deliver a safe, effective and drug free treatment that will not only reduce your pain and symptoms, but address and correct the root cause of the problem.  Contact us at 302-368-1300 or through our website at to schedule a consultation now and find out how we can help!

Dr. Travis McKay

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