Being a safe, responsible driver can decrease your risk of an accident. However, you do not have much control over the actions of other drivers. That means you could fall victim to another person’s negligence behind the wheel.

According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a common car accident injury. In many cases, the effects of whiplash or minor and short-lived. However, serious complications can also occur depending on the injury.

Causes of whiplash

The rapid back and forth movement of the head is what causes whiplash. The force of the injury affects many bodily tissues, including muscles, tendons, spinal disks, ligaments, and nerves. It often occurs when a person is rear-ended by another vehicle. However, it can also result from a sports injury or physical assault.

Symptoms

Whiplash symptoms typically present within a few days after the injury. They include pain and discomfort in the neck area. Range of motion may also diminish due to stiffness and soreness. Some people experience headaches, as well as a feeling of fatigue. More serious symptoms include a tingling sensation in the arms.

There are also less common symptoms associated with whiplashes, such as problems concentrating or remembering, blurred vision, tinnitus, insomnia, and depression.

Possible complications

Chronic pain can also result from whiplash. Chronic pain may last months or even years, depending on the severity of the injury. Your risk of developing more serious whiplash complications increases during high-speed accidents. Risk also increases for older adults and those who have experienced whiplash in the past.

It is best to consult with a doctor after a car accident. Not only will a doctor assess your symptoms to determine their severity, but they can also create documentation for the injuries you experienced. This is beneficial when filing a claim with your insurer.