How Do I Know If I Have Whiplash?
You know that minor car accidents can cause neck pain. Extreme car crashes can result in death. What about everything in between? Here is my list of symptoms and pain that can be surprising. I never knew about many of these until I started chiropractic school. Even some I learned after I graduated. I was surprised and shocked and I bet you will be too.
1. Blurred Vision - First on the list is vision problems. Your eyes along with everything else in your body can suffer from the sudden jolt of a car accident. Nerves that send signals back and forth are effected as well as the fluid within your eyeball. Retina detachment may occur at extreme forces. Luckily for most, visual disturbance subsides with time. Non the less, your eyes are important so make sure you discuss this with your chiropractor.
2. Dizziness and Vertigo- Number two on the list hit close to home for me. My mom was involved in a car accident when I was in college and her primary symptom was dizziness. She could not stand for long periods without the room spinning and eventually had to quit her job. She went to all sorts of medical specialists and no one could figure out her problems. Luckily my sister (who was in medical school at the time) told her to go see a chiropractor. Dr Garlock discovered subluxations (misalignments) in her spine. Fixed her problems and today my mom is symptom free and I became a doctor of chiropractic because of Dr Garlock.
3. Headaches- Number three on our list is the sinister headache. Headaches can be depressing to debilitating. At best headaches cause minor pain and at worst headaches can make you wish you were never born. Throbbing, pounding and painful vice like headaches can all occur from a auto injuries. How does this happen? Nerves, muscles and vascular structures in your had can all be damaged in a car accident. Remember that the sudden jolt of force from a car accident does not discriminate. Once the nerves, muscles or vascular structures are damaged, it can cause headaches.
4. Low back pain- Hold up here! How can something so far from the neck make it to number four on our list? Once again anti discrimination laws go into effect. These laws occur in car accidents and not just our work place. When you are involved in a car accident, your entire body is whipped forward. The seat belt that holds you back can act as a fulcrum causing injury to your back. In certain cases the head is snapped so far back and forth that the resulting pull goes all the way down your back.
5. Symptoms may take days, weeks, months or even years to show up- OK, OK, this is not exactly a symptom but it is surprising to me and shocking to the victim. Pain or symptoms may take a while to manifest after a car accident- no matter what it is; headaches, dizziness, jaw (TMJ) pain, vertigo, ringing in the ears, fatigue, blurred vision, pain the neck, low back pain, shoulder pain, elbow/arm or wrist pain, and hip/knee or ankle pain. Why is this? With pain, the swelling may take up to 24 hours before the swelling causes pain. With other symptoms like dizziness or headaches things may not be noticed until after the major pain has died down. In other words you body is so focused on the extreme pain in your neck or back and its not until the neck and back pain has died down that you now feel or notice the headaches and dizziness.
So there you have it. My initial list of five surprising symptoms after a motor vehicle collision (MVC). If you would like to read more, please leave me a note below and I will have a part two. Until than enjoy your health!
Dr Conrad Bui, DC, ND