What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

As your trusted Bellevue chiropractor, we specialize in diagnosing and treating both neck strain and whiplash. Through our advanced chiropractic care services, you can experience relief from the symptoms of your whiplash injury while restoring mobility after a car crash or personal trauma. Find relief with us today!

What Causes Whiplash and Neck Strain?

Most of the time, whiplash occurs when your neck muscles are strained during a sudden collision. When your body rapidly moves backward and then forward due to an impact, the tendons in your neck as well as other ligaments can become overstretched or torn, leading to whiplash. Car accidents may be the most common cause of this type of injury, whiplash can also occur from a fall, a sports accident, physical abuse, or assault. Many cases resolve completely with rest, stretches, and treatment, but a whiplash injury also has the potential to turn into chronic pain. That’s why it’s important to monitor yourself for injury after a traumatic accident and know the signs and symptoms to look for. Keep reading to learn more. To ensure your well-being after a distressing event, it is necessary to pay attention to any symptoms you may experience. Read on for more information about what signs and symptoms of injury should be monitored for.

What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

Though you may not be aware of it right away, traumatic events like a car crash or sports injury can trigger the signs and symptoms of whiplash. It’s best to monitor yourself closely for several days following such an incident to spot any indications that something is wrong. Be mindful of the common indicators associated with whiplash – if they arise, then seek medical attention immediately.

Common signs and symptoms include:

Neck pain And Stiffness

Whiplash is typically recognized through a persistent ache and stiffness, which will likely become worse whenever you move your head up or down, as well as side-to-side. In addition to this discomfort are regular muscle spasms and knots in the neck muscles that restrict movement.

Shoulder And Back Pain

It is not uncommon to experience soreness and tenderness in the neck, upper back, and arms that may spread across the shoulders.


 You may experience headaches that begin at the base of the skull and radiate toward the front of the head.

Weakness, Numbness, or Tingling

If you experience tenderness, numbness, and tingling that radiates down your shoulder, arm, and hand area, this could be a potential sign of a pinched nerve in the neck.

Mood or Personality Changes

Some people experience irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression as a side effect of whiplash.

Cognitive Changes

Whiplash can lead to difficulty focusing or concentrating and memory issues. 


You may feel more lethargic, sleepy, weary, or fatigued outside your baseline. 

Some people also experience dizziness, blurry vision, tinnitus, and difficulty sleeping.

How is Whiplash Diagnosed?

After an accident, a patient will typically be taken to the hospital or doctor’s office for further investigation. During their chiropractic exam, the physician will assess the affected area to evaluate if any treatment is necessary. Depending on what they observe and how severe a patient’s symptoms are, it may be essential for them to place additional support around their neck with a collar.

To ensure more serious injuries are not present, X-rays and additional diagnostic tests may need to be conducted. If the results come back normal yet neck pain persists, wearing a cervical collar could prove necessary.

How is Whiplash Treated?

Our team will closely monitor each patient to create a customized treatment plan that is tailored specifically for them and their whiplash injury. This may involve chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, or even at-home exercises that are designed to build strength and flexibility in the neck.  By accounting for each person’s unique condition, we can provide an effective solution that addresses both current symptoms as well as prevention of further damage.

Complications Associated with Whiplash

The most common complication of whiplash is chronic pain and symptoms that persist for longer than three months. Some individuals who experience whiplash may suffer from protracted symptoms for over 12 months and in certain cases even permanent ones. Extended effects of the injury can manifest in neck pain, stiffness, headaches, depression, and anxiety as well as troubles with memory.

Who’s more likely to experience long-lasting pain and symptoms? The following risk factors have been linked to chronic pain and worse outcomes:

  • Older age
  • Previous neck injury
  • Pre-existing low back or neck pain
  • Severe pain and symptoms that began rapidly
  • Pain that spread to the arms

For a more timely recovery and improved outcomes, be sure to receive an early diagnosis alongside beginning range-of-motion exercises as soon as possible. You must wait until fully healed from whiplash before engaging in any sport or physically demanding activity; returning too quickly can result in further injury and persistent pain. Follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to what activities are safe for you during the healing period.

Receive A Whiplash Evaluation At Bellevue Chiropractic 

Are you struggling with an unremitting injury or persistent pain? Bellevue Chiropractic is here to aid you on your road to recovery. We offer orthopedic care, pain management, sports medicine treatments so that you can return to activities that bring joy into your life.

Call us today or reach out online to schedule your first appointment with our clinic.

Content Reviewed by
Doctor Of Chiropractic
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