What is whiplash? It is defined as a neck injury caused by sudden forward, backward, or sideways movement of the head. We generally hear the term ‘whiplash’ in reference to car accidents. For example, when a person is hit head on, rear-ended, or hit from the side. But did you know that whiplash can occur during bike accidents, blows to the head, falls, ski accidents, and other head and neck trauma? What are some symptoms of whiplash?

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Pain in the arms, hands, feet or legs
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Neck stiffness and/or pain
  • Depression
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nausea
  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain or stiffness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or even hearing loss
  • And many, many more!

You might wonder, “Isn’t it true that if I don’t have symptoms right away that I am okay?” No! Symptoms after many sports-related or auto accident-related traumas can be mild at first. A person may not even realize they have been injured. It is always a good idea to be examined, even if a person feels relatively fine after an accident. Symptoms may not show up for days, months, or even years.

What are some of these more severe conditions that result from neck/head injuries, sometimes years later? They can be immune related, neurological, pain and conditions such as:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • ADHD
  • Seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis

Facts About Whiplash

Tests of low-speed, rear-impact collisions show that even at speeds of 5 mph a person can be injured. Most rear-impact accidents happen at speeds of 6-12 mph which place them below the threshold for property damage while still being able to cause neck trauma.

Some two million people are exposed to whiplash through auto accidents in the US every year.

Ligaments that support the neck can be overstretched (sprained) or torn when the head is suddenly jerked side to side or back and forth farther than normal. This results in vertebrae being forced out of their normal position.

Whiplash injuries can occur in falls on stairs or an icy sidewalk. They can occur in sports like hockey, football, skiing, cycling, gymnastics, ice skating, or boxing.

Can Upper Cervical Help Sufferers? How?

When a person of any age suffers an accident, they should have a proper spinal examination. This is necessary to assess whether there has been an injury to the neck. An upper cervical chiropractic specialist, such as Dr. Dan Spinato of Rancho Penasquitos, California, will use a specialized test and specific X-rays of the neck to see if there has, in fact, been injury to the upper neck. If so, an adjustment by hand is given to correct the subluxation. This can reverse, improve, and prevent numerous whiplash symptoms.


To schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Spinato call (858) 484-0444 or just click the button below.