Symptoms and Treatments for Painful Whiplash

Most of us have heard the term whiplash before, but we may not realize the severity of pain and suffering that whiplash can cause. Whiplash occurs when there is an over-extension of the neck, causing muscles and ligaments to stretch or tear. Even though it’s not a life-threatening injury, it can cause a prolonged period of pain and discomfort, sometimes lasting for years.

If you have sustained a whiplash injury, you need to be aware of the symptoms, treatment and compensation available.


Whiplash is different from a mere neck sprain as it causes damage to both the bone structures and soft tissues of the neck. It generally occurs when the neck becomes over-extended, usually as the result of being struck from behind. During a severe car accident, the force of the collision can cause a victim’s head to be violently thrust forward causing the neck to jerk forward. Likewise, if the victim’s body is violently pushed forward while the head momentarily remains behind, this too can cause an overextension of the neck muscles and ligaments.

Muscles and ligaments can be torn as the head rocks up and back. As a reflex, the muscles contract to bring the head forward again. This stretching and tearing of tissues can lead to whiplash.

If you have recently been involved in a collision and believe you may have suffered whiplash, here are some signs to look out for:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headache
  • Shoulder pain
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Arm pain or weakness
  • Visual disturbances
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Back pain
  • Jaw pain or discomfort (signs of temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ))

Any of these symptoms can indicate a whiplash injury and should be immediately assessed by a medical professional.


Once whiplash has been diagnosed, your doctor may recommend a soft cervical collar for your injury. This collar will help to reduce the range of motion in your neck and to prevent any further injuries. Treatment for whiplash may also include:

  • Rest. Limiting mobility and allowing the muscles to retract and heal is the best way to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Medication. Painkillers may be prescribed to help ease the discomfort and irritation involved with everyday activities.
  • Physical therapy. Depending on the severity of the whiplash, your doctor may recommend PT once your pain is under control. PT will help to strengthen the muscles and reestablish flexibility.

As one might imagine, medical treatment and therapy can be expensive—especially when symptoms persist for an extended period of time. However, by filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover medical costs, expenses for ongoing care, and more. Call us today for a complimentary consultation and see how our extensive experience and knowledge can help you get ahead of your injury debt.