Symptoms of Whiplash

Minor car accidents can cause whiplash and whiplash symptoms linger if a patient doesn’t get adequate treatment. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the symptoms of whiplash, which isn’t always caused by a car accident.

Back before cars, whiplash was known as ‘railway spine,’ because train accidents caused it. The essential cause of whiplash is the head quickly moving forward and backward, or ‘whipped,’ usually caused by being hit from behind. It frequently occurs during car accidents, but can also be the result of a sports injury, a fall or work-related accident.

What we know about whiplash is sobering: the pain associated with a whiplash injury can cause severe and ongoing psychological problems as a result. Since over half of those studied over a 20 year period continued to have pain from a whiplash injury, it’s worthwhile to consider this phenomenon, its symptoms, and reliefs.

Symptoms of whiplash

The symptoms of whiplash generally include one of the following:

  • Neck pain

  • Headache

  • Shoulder pain,

  • Low back pain,

  • Blurred vision

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Irritability

  • Dizziness

  • Vertigo or a feeling of movement

Depending on the severity of the accident, the doctor or emergency room may order X-rays, an MRI or other diagnostics to make sure the neck itself isn’t fractured. Often, patients are sent home with a neck brace and a bottle of pills with instructions to see their primary care doctor if the pain continues.

Of course, pills merely mask the symptoms and don’t treat the cause or bring lasting relief. Aside from that, a host of emotional responses can follow, as well as the potential for drug dependency and sleep disruption.

To treat the problem of damage caused by whiplash, a patient needs more. Here are some of the things which can bring relief to a person who has whiplash:


Our society eschews rest like a hot dog at a five-star restaurant. In fact, if you tell someone you’re going to take your ease, it’s likely that they won’t even recognize the expression since we don’t rest anymore. In fact, the United States is the least restful nation in the world, including being the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave.


Some whiplash, in addition to rest, will benefit greatly from massage. The masseuse should be one who is familiar with dealing with whiplash types of injuries. Massage can bring lasting benefits, with or without physical therapy.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can help a patient who is suffering from whiplash to retain their flexibility of movement, which will also lessen their pain. Physical therapy can also help restore lost function and ease other symptoms.


Hot tub

Heat from a hot tub is soothing and relaxing, making it a natural option for a patient with a whiplash injury. Warmth for comfort cannot be underestimated in the recovery process.


There are exercises which can help a recovering whiplash victim. While these should always be done under the care of a professional, they can be done at home, thus hastening the healing process.

Regardless of the reason for a whiplash injury, it’s essential to seek medical advice for the care of whiplash, as ignoring it will not make it go away.

If you are looking for occupational or physical therapy, vestibular rehab, wheelchair training, learning to walk, unweighting, or other services in the Phoenix area, please call Touchstone Rehabilitation at 602-277-1073.