These symptoms can be broken down into two types, the initial symptoms that occur right after the accident and the symptoms that may arise later on. Most of the symptoms will develop at least 48 hours after the accident. In usual cases, the symptoms last for a couple of days for more extreme cases, symptoms may continue for weeks. The sooner after the injury symptoms develop, the greater the chance of serious damage.
Whiplash Injury Symptoms
- Pain and stiffness of the neck, extending up to the head and down to the shoulders
- Neck swelling
- Sensory disturbance (such as pins and needles) to the arms & legs
- Difficulty moving your neck around
- Ringing in the ears or tinnitus
- Blurred vision
Whiplash Injury Diagnosis
Diagnosis occurs through a patient history, head and neck examination, X-Rays to rule out fractures and may involve the use of medical imaging to determine if there are other injuries.
Exams and Tests
- The doctor will first examine the functioning of the spinal cord in order to determine if any damage is present. The following areas will probably be assessed:
- Physical strength in both arms and legs
- Ability to sense the touching of the skin in different parts of the body
- Reflexes at the joints of the arms and legs
- The doctor will also inspect the patient's head and neck for any external signs of trauma including bruises, cuts, and abrasions.
- The patient may be asked to move their neck in a controlled way to the left, right, up, and down. Tell the doctor if neck pain, numbness, or tingling in any of the arms or legs, or any other abnormal feelings during these maneuvers is felt.
- X-rays may be taken of the neck bones to make sure there are no fractures or signs of other serious injury. The doctor will review these x-rays and order further imaging with a CT scan or MRI if needed.
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