Understanding Whiplash And Its Causes - N8 Family Chiropractic - Treatment for Whiplash

Understanding Whiplash And Its Causes

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Chiropractic Care for Whiplash
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About 3 million Americans suffer from whiplash each year. It can happen to anyone at any time, so understanding whiplash and its causes makes it easier to find prevention and proper treatment.

Whiplash injuries can occur when an individual is thrown forward against their seatbelt during accidents, causing tightening around the neck muscles. Depending on the severity of the whiplash, these muscles may give out temporarily or sustain permanent damage beyond repair. While this injury in itself isn’t life-threatening, it can still cause further complications like blood clots if left untreated. 

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury that happens when someone moves back and forth rapidly, like cracking a whip. This can happen from sports accidents, physical abuse, and other types of traumas. It may not be apparent immediately, but it can still cause pain for a long time. People who have whiplash often have trouble with chronic pain management. Whiplash injuries happen most often to people who get into auto-collision events. 

whiplash and its causes
Young man rubbing neck in pain from a whiplash injury

Whiplash symptoms

Signs and symptoms of whiplash usually develop within days of the accident. Some people may experience them sooner than others, including the following: 

  • Headache or neck pain 
  • Tightness in the neck 
  • Worsening pain when turning one’s head 
  • Headaches that begin at the back of the head
  • Tingling or numbness in arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • Ringing ears (tinnitus)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Depression

How long does whiplash last? 

For many people, neck pain goes away within a few days. It can take as much as three months to be fully rid of the pain. However, other people can have pain from the injury that lasts a year or even longer. In fact, studies have shown that about 50% to 85% of individuals with neck pain do not experience a complete resolution of symptoms up to a year later. 

Whiplash and its causes

There are several ways that a person can get whiplash. These injuries may result from: 

  • An auto accident.
  • Physical abuse or assault. Whiplash can result from being punched or rattled. This injury is also seen in shaken baby syndrome.
  • Contact sports such as football where tackles and other collisions are common.

When to see a doctor

If you have neck pain or other whiplash symptoms after a car accident, sports injury, or other traumatic events, then it’s crucial to see a physician as soon as possible. Getting an accurate diagnosis will help rule out broken bones and other issues that can worsen these problems. Getting treatment early is essential to preventing whiplash injuries from becoming more severe.

Whiplash and traumatic brain injury

While the symptoms of whiplash and traumatic brain injury can be similar, they are not one and the same. Traumatic brain injuries have a broader range of effects than whiplash does, which is why it is key to get an accurate diagnosis. This is especially important if you suspect that you may have sustained either type of injury.


Being able to recognize and understand the main characteristics of a whiplash injury is the first step in getting the appropriate treatment. It’s important to remember that whiplash can affect anyone. Not only will you be able to help yourself, but you can also provide someone with the right support that may save their quality of life.

Head and neck trauma deserve immediate attention. Here at N8 Family Chiropractic, we can help you get back on your feet in no time. Contact us today!

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Understanding Whiplash And Its Causes
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