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Whiplash Symptoms After a Car Accident

Whiplash is a common injury that happens after a car accident. It happens when there is a forceful and rapid movement on the head in a back and forth motion.

The symptoms usually come up within the first 24 hours after the accident. While whiplash is very much treatable and those affected just might get better in a few days, some cases of whiplash extend over time and the person affected might have to suffer neck pain for as long as they live.


The symptoms of whiplash can either be mild or strong, either way, they demand instant medical attention.

Mild symptoms: The mild symptoms of whiplash includes; headache (usually starts from the skull base, just a little above the nape), pain in the shoulder, pain in the upper arms, a stiff feeling in the neck, neck pain( especially when you attempt to move it). You might also experience a tingling sensation in the arm (this might be numbness, it depends), a feeling of tenderness when you touch your shoulders. There is a chance that you might feel dizzy or fatigued generally.

Stronger Symptoms

The stronger, rarer symptoms include a blurred vision, tinnitus( having a ringing sound in the ear), loss of focus, temporary loss of memory, loss of sleep, and depression. These symptoms might take a bit longer to the surface, but granted they will surface within few days of the accident. These symptoms show that the whiplash might be chronic and would require immediate treatment.

Whiplash might be more severe if the symptoms began to show immediately. If the pain goes from your neck to your arms rapidly and it comes with a headache, you might have a stronger case of whiplash than expected and you need to call 911 immediately to get the medical care you need.

While some of these symptoms seem mild and like they would go away, they will not in most cases, and if you start experiencing any of these symptoms, no matter how mild, within the first 24 hours after a car accident, see a doctor immediately.

It is however advised that you see a doctor immediately after an accident and stay under supervision for at least 24 hours to sure there are no critical conditions in need of medical attention. This gives them a chance to start treatments early and reduce the chance of having to deal with some of the symptoms.