Whiplash is one of the most common injuries people sustain after a car accident. In the United States alone, approximately 1 million people suffer from whiplash every year, shares Naples Neurosurgery, a division of Neuroscience and Spine Associates. Between 25 and 40 percent of those people will never make a full recovery from their injury.
Auto accidents are serious, and you do not want to delay seeing a doctor. You should see one within a few hours of the collision so you can begin any treatments immediately. The signs of whiplash may not appear for a day or two, so even after you see a doctor, you need to remain cognizant of any changes in your physical and emotional well-being.
Whiplash symptoms typically manifest in 24 hours. A lot of people have a tendency to assume it is normal to have a headache after a car crash. However, you should not assume that a headache will go away on its own. It may require prescription medication or other treatments to remedy, and you can only get that from a doctor. Other signs to look out for in the weeks following a car accident include:
- Headaches that start at the skull's base
- Stiffness and pain in the neck
- Worsening of pain any time the neck moves
- Loss of range of motion within the neck
- Chronic fatigue
- Numbness, tingling or tenderness in the arms
- Pain in the arms, upper back and shoulders
- Depression and other mental-health issues
- Memory problems
- Issues with concentrating
- Sleeping disorders
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
These problems may go away on their own or with minor treatment. However, you should expect worse problems if the pain was extreme at first. You should also take note if you suffered from whiplash before or if you already had a history of neck and lower-back pain. Older people are also more susceptible to developing greater complications after a car accident.