Managing the stress and cost after an auto accident is a pain in the neck. Depending on how bad the accident was, you may also be left with a literal pain in the neck. It may not have been there right away, but neck pain or stiffness, headaches, residual dizziness or tingling sensations may be signs of a bigger issue: whiplash.

Most people have heard the word whiplash but don’t really know what it is. Whiplash occurs when a person’s head is whipped back and forth – like a cracking whip. This sudden and violent jolt creates a serious strain on the spinal cord which lead to pain and potentially severe complications.

It is always vital to see a doctor immediately after an auto accident, even if you don’t think you have been injured. Whiplash can take days to manifest. Once you have spoken with a doctor, also be sure to consult a with a legal professional – they will deal with insurance and help to secure you the resources you need to get back on your feet.

Did I suffer whiplash?

There are several symptoms that may indicate you have suffered whiplash. The most obvious is, of course, neck pain and stiffness. It does not stop there, though. Speak to a doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Intense pain with neck movement
  • Less range of motion of neck
  • Headaches originating at the base of the skull
  • Tiredness or dizziness
  • Tingling or numbness in fingers or arms

These are among the most common symptoms of whiplash, but they are not the only ones. If you suffer any of the below symptoms, it may be a sign of a more severe condition like a traumatic brain injury:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Blurred vision
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping or waking

The human brain and spinal cord are robust, but when they are damaged it creates serious, potentially permanent problems. Do not wait for symptoms to go away on their own. They might not.

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