After a car accident, you may feel a tightness and pain in your shoulders or neck. When a car collides with another, particularly when a car strikes another from behind, it can cause a person’s neck to jolt forward in a jarring motion. This motion can lead to serious neck or shoulder injuries.

One condition commonly associated with car accidents, according to Cleveland Clinic is whiplash. Could you be suffering from whiplash following your accident?

How does whiplash happen?

Whiplash is most common in car accidents. It occurs due to a violent jolting. Whenever your neck has to extend and flex quickly, it can cause nerves, muscles or ligaments in your neck to suffer damage. Several factors may make one person more prone to whiplash than another person. For instance, women and younger people are more likely to get whiplash. Likewise, those who already suffer from neck pain or work a job that already contributes to tight muscles may be prone to whiplash.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Whiplash symptoms do not always manifest directly after an accident. Sometimes, you may not experience any pain for a few days. The common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Fatigue
  • Stiff neck
  • Range of motion issues
  • Muscle spasms

To know if you have whiplash, a physician will carry out a physical exam. In some cases, it may be necessary for the physician to conduct an MRI, X-ray or CT scan. Unfortunately, the injuries may be too small to see on an imaging scan. Many doctors diagnose whiplash through the symptoms, rather than through imaging.