If you’ve been in a rear-end collision then you have experienced how even a slow speed accident can cause you significant pain. Many rear-end collisions happen when the car in front is stopped or moving at a low speed, but car accident injuries do still happen. When the rear car collides with the front car, the driver and any passengers in the front car may be severely jostled with the force of the accident. The most common injury with rear-end collisions is whiplash and it can cause serious pain and discomfort in the hours and days after the accident.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Neck Pain and Stiffness
When the force of the other car colliding with yours it can cause your head to intensely snap forward and then backward. This unnatural movement will affect your neck muscles, tendons, and bones as they are jolted out of their normal range of motion. The neck muscles can become strained, especially if you weren’t able to brace for the impact. Strained neck muscles can cause significant pain and tenderness in your neck and it can hurt to turn your head even slightly. As your neck muscles react to the trauma, they can start to stiffen up, which also contributes to your pain when you turn your head. This can cause you to lose normal range of motion in your neck in the hours and days after the accident.
Upper Back and Shoulder Pain
Because your spine is in your neck and back, any forceful movement of your neck is likely to disrupt your upper back and shoulders as well. While the seat belt does help in restraining your body from too much movement with a car accident, the force of the accident and the speed of the rear car can still jostle you out of place. This can lead to sore muscles in your upper body, which can even be tender to the touch. The muscles in your upper back may also try to compensate for your injured neck muscles which can cause them to feel sore. Individual vertebrae in your spine may even feel tender and painful due to injury.
When you suffer from whiplash, headaches are common and tend to start at the base of your head and can get worse in the hours after the accident. Some people also experience a throbbing headache and can lead to chronic headaches if left untreated. Headaches may appear right after the accident, but they may also slowly develop in the hours and even days after the car accident. Headaches are a symptom of many car accident injuries so it is important to pay attention to the combination of symptoms you are experiencing in order to determine if it is whiplash.
Pins and Needles
Whiplash can also lead to a tingling sensation in various parts of your body, which many people describe as a pins and needles type of feeling. Tingling, pins and needles, and numbness are generally signs that your nerves have been affected by the accident. The anatomy of your neck is so small that any swelling, torn muscle, or slipped disc can put pressure on nearby nerves. The nerves in your neck and back help send signals from your brain to other parts of your body, so the tingling feeling can happen in your arm or leg even if the primary source of your pain is in your neck.
These are the most common symptoms of whiplash, though people have also reported blurred vision, ringing in the ears, fatigue, and even difficulty concentrating.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Because whiplash symptoms don’t always show up immediately after the accident, it can be tricky to know whether or not you have any car accident injuries that will require medical treatment. Any time your head, neck, and back are involved in an accident, you should be cautious and seek medical treatment. The stress of the accident can cause you to experience shock and the adrenaline running through your body can sometimes mask any pain symptoms you might be experiencing. Other car accident injuries are common alongside whiplash so it’s important to see a doctor who has knowledge and expertise with car accident injuries to help rule these out and ensure you get the proper treatment.