Whiplash is a very common injury, most often caused by car accidents. Even minor car accidents can cause whiplash by causing your head and neck to whip back and forth quickly.

Athletes can also experience whiplash, especially in contact sports like football. A sudden force, like hitting another body, can cause neck strain. Neck strain is another term for whiplash.

Symptoms of Whiplash

It can take 24 hours or even longer for your whiplash symptoms to develop. Pain is the most common symptom of neck strain. But you may have other symptoms caused by your whiplash, including:

  • Dizziness and headache.
  • Fatigue and irritability.
  • Lower back pain.
  • Numbness or pain in the hands and arms.
  • Problems with memory or concentration.
  • Stiffness and pain in the shoulders.

If you seek medical care for your whiplash symptoms, your doctor may assign your injury a grade. The grades range from 0 to 4 in severity and can help guide medical professionals in recommending treatments.

How to Diagnose Whiplash

People experience whiplash in a variety of ways. Your doctor will examine you and ask about what caused the symptoms. You may also undergo diagnostic tests like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. These tests make it easier to see damage to the soft tissues.

In rare cases, your whiplash may be severe. It could include a fractured vertebra or a head injury like a concussion. When you have a more complex case of whiplash, it can take longer for your symptoms to get better. If you have a spinal injury, you may need surgery.


How to Treat Whiplash

Many people can successfully treat many of their whiplash symptoms at home. Over-the-counter pain relief can help with the pain and stiffness. Massages and physical therapy can increase your mobility over time.

In the first few days, ice can help with the swelling and pain. Make sure you wrap the ice pack in a thin towel and only apply it for about 15 minutes at a time. After a few days of ice, you can switch to moist heat. Some doctors may prescribe a stiff collar, but usually only briefly. Gentle movement and exercise are essential to maintain strength and promote healing.

You may have chronic pain or symptoms from your whiplash. Some people with chronic pain get relief from radiofrequency (RF) nerve ablation. Others may use a TENS machine. You may need surgery to stabilize your spine or repair damage in the most severe cases.

When to Seek Medical Care for Whiplash

Some people feel pain from whiplash right away. But many do not notice symptoms for a day or two. And whiplash symptoms can last for weeks. But if your symptoms worsen or you develop new symptoms, you should seek medical attention.

Car accidents and sudden impacts during an athletic event can cause you to have whiplash and a head injury. Confusion, dizziness, and irritability are all possible signs of a concussion or traumatic brain injury.

PRESNow Urgent & Emergency Care

Get Help for Whiplash at PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care

Whiplash can be painful and potentially dangerous. So, if you or a loved one is showing symptoms, turn to the medical team at PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care in Albuquerque.

Unlike most ERs or urgent care centers in the area, PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care in Albuquerque, patients are only billed for the level of services they need. The ER and urgent care are open 24 hours a day, every day. No appointment is required for in-person visits.

PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care has four convenient locations:

  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Paseo/San Pedro is located at 6400 Paseo Del Norte Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113, and may be reached at 505-596-2100.
  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Coors/Western Trail is located at 4515 Coors Blvd. NW Albuquerque, NM 87120, and may be reached at 505-596-2200.
  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Isleta/Rio Bravo is located at 3436 Isleta Blvd SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105, and may be reached at 505-596-2300.
  • PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care Menaul/Pennsylvania is located at 7400 Menaul Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, and may be reached at 505-596-2400.