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What to Expect from a Whiplash Examination

Aug 11, 2021

One of the most common car accident injuries that people get diagnosed with every day is whiplash. This type of neck injury is common because of how the body is affected by the sudden and forceful impact of two vehicles. Seat belts provide a great deal of safety and help hold you in place from shoulder to hip. However, the head and neck are left vulnerable to being jostled and jolted around upon impact. Whiplash is especially common with rear-end collisions like fender benders. Many people are surprised to find out that a whiplash injury can occur even with a mild car accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then the next step is to get checked out by a doctor and find out what type of whiplash treatment is best for you.

How to Recognize Symptoms of Whiplash

Whiplash primarily affects the neck, though it can also cause pain and other symptoms in the head, upper back, and shoulders. The force of impact between your vehicle and another can cause your head and neck to snap violently forward and backward in quick succession. This can put a serious amount of pressure on your neck as it strains to hold up and support your head. The muscles in the neck can become overstretched, strained, and even torn with a whiplash injury. Some symptoms of whiplash include pain and soreness in your neck, stiff muscles, and difficulty turning your neck. Whiplash can be tricky to recognize at first because the symptoms can take hours or even days to fully appear. This is because car accidents tend to kickstart an adrenaline reaction to the stressful event, which can help you at the moment but may also mask pain symptoms.

When to Visit a Doctor for Whiplash

Because symptoms for whiplash can be delayed, you should always get checked out by a car accident doctor after an accident no matter what symptoms you may or may not have. The best way to prevent chronic pain and other complications from a car accident injury like whiplash is to get started on whiplash treatment right away. Car accident doctors treat whiplash injuries every day and are able to recognize and treat your car accident injuries so you can get back to your regular routine as soon as possible. Even if you went to the emergency room or urgent care after a car accident, you will still need to follow up with a doctor for continued care and treatment. Car accident doctors can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and whiplash treatment.

What to Expect at Your First Whiplash Appointment

When you go to see a car accident doctor for the first time after you’ve been in a wreck, you can expect a few things to occur. Here are 3 examples of what to expect from a whiplash examination after a car accident.

  • Physical Examination

The first thing your doctor may do is perform a physical examination of your head, neck, and back. Your doctor will also ask about your car accident experience, what type of pain you have been experiencing, and to describe any areas of tenderness or soreness with the manual physical examination. They will also assess your reflexes and strength in the affected area.

  • Range of Motion Assessment

Your doctor will also want to assess your range of motion in your neck and how it may have been impacted by the car accident. A whiplash injury can cause strained and torn neck muscles and inflammation in the area, which can all contribute to decreased mobility in your neck. You may experience pain or difficulty turning your head and neck in certain directions because of a whiplash injury.

  • Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging can also be used to provide your doctor with clearer pictures of how your internal structures were damaged during the accident. X-rays will produce images of bones and joints, while a CT scan would show more detail with soft tissues like muscles, ligaments, tendons, and spinal discs.

What to Expect from Whiplash Treatment

When you visit a car accident doctor at AICA Orthopedics for whiplash treatment, you will visit with a doctor and also receive any diagnostic imaging scans all in one convenient location. Find a location near you and get started on whiplash treatment today!


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