What Side Effects Does Whiplash Cause?

About three million people in America get whiplash injuries every year. While some recover from whiplash injuries within a couple of weeks or months, others experience lingering pain and even disability from whiplash. The pain can be so severe to warrant medications and frequent visits to the doctor. Is your whiplash injury still causing you discomfort many years later?


What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury that happens when the neck jolts forward or backward by force. This quick motion stretches and tears the soft tissues and muscles in your neck, causing pain and damage to your neck.

Whiplash injuries usually clear up within two or three months. You can treat the injuries at home using over-the-counter pain medications and cold compresses. But more severe injuries may call for urgent medical treatment, including physiotherapy and prescription medicines.


What Causes Whiplash?

Car accidents are by far the main cause of whiplash injuries. However, you can get whiplash in any situation that rocks your head or neck back and forth abruptly and forcibly.

Other situations that cause whiplash include physical assault such as being shaken or punched, or slipping and falling incidences. Horseback riding injuries, biking accidents, skiing accidents, and injuries from extreme sports cause whiplash. Boxing, karate, and other contact sports, as well as falling from heights or traumatic blows, can also cause whiplash.


Short-Term Side Effects of Whiplash

Minutes or hours after an injury, you may experience some symptoms. However, in some cases, the symptoms develop days or weeks later. They include:

  • Aching and pain in the neck.
  • Back and shoulder pain.
  • Headaches.
  • Pins and needles sensation around the neck.
  • Neck stiffness and decreased range of movement in the neck.
  • Tinnitus (ringing noise in your ears).

These symptoms may cause you to have trouble concentrating or get easily distracted or irritated. While every whiplash injury is different, the more discomfort a person feels from whiplash and the more severe the symptoms are, the higher the risk of experiencing the chronic side effects of whiplash.


Long-Term Side Effects of Whiplash

If you receive enough medical care soon after your whiplash, your injury may clear up within a few weeks or months. But the pain and limitations of whiplash injuries can linger for years or even become lifelong in some cases.

The lingering side effects of whiplash may include the following: 

  • Constant discomfort and stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
  • Occasional ringing in the ears.
  • Harsh chronic headaches.
  • Always feeling dizzy.
  • Lower or upper back pain.
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms, hands, or legs.
  • Pain in the jaw.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Memory issues.
  • Constant trouble concentrating.
  • Permanent changes in your temperament.

Lasting side effects of whiplash are quite common, and a person is more likely to experience them if they are involved in a terrible car accident or do not get sufficient medical care soon after the injury. Also, you are likely to experience the lasting effects of whiplash if you suffer a serious injury to your neck muscles and tissue, a spinal fracture, or a repeat injury in your neck during recovery.

To learn more about the side effects that whiplash causes, visit Advanced Spinal Care at our office in Charleston, South Carolina. You can call (843) 350-5022 today to schedule an appointment.

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