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A whiplash injury can affect you in different ways. If you are unsure whether you should seek medical attention or not, this short article might help you to identify the symptoms.

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What are the symptoms of a whiplash injury?

A whiplash injury can affect you in different ways. If you are unsure whether you should seek medical attention or not, this short article might help you to identify the symptoms.

Whiplash injury explained

Whiplash injuries are caused when the tendons and ligaments of the neck have received a sudden jolt, and are being stretched too far.

The most common causes of whiplash injuries are car accidents, when another vehicle hits your car from behind. But there are also other accidents that can lead to a whiplash injury:

  • Work accidents: when you have had a heavy fall or have been hit with a heavy object.
  • Slips and trips: where your body has come to a sudden stop when hitting the floor

A whiplash injury usually gets better within a few weeks or months. However, for some people it takes longer and can severely limit their activities.

Symptoms of a whiplash injury

The most common symptoms include:

  • neck pain and tenderness
  • neck stiffness and difficulty moving your head
  • headaches
  • muscle spasms

These symptoms can cause the following:

  • Prevent you from turning your head from side to side
  • Spread the pain to your arms and shoulders

NHS identifies the following, less common symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Spread the pain to your arms and shoulders
  • Feeling of pins and needles in your arms and hands
  • Tiredness
  • Poor concentration

When do I experience the symptoms?

According to the NHS, the first symptoms usually occur within a few hours after the accident. However, they are often worse the day after the injury and may continue to get worse for several days. Read more on treating whiplash.

When to see a doctor

If you haven’t already visited a medical professional after your accident, and you are experiencing the symptoms of a whiplash injury, you should visit one now. The medical professional can examine your neck and assess the range of movement in your neck.

For more information on whiplash, we recommend the NHS website.

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