Symptoms often develop in the hours after the injury although they can also develop in the days after the injury.
Symptoms may include:
- Stiff neck
- Neck pain
- Numbness or tingling
- Shoulder pain and stiffness
- Decreased range of neck motion
- Muscle spasms
- Pain, numbness, or tingling extending down an arm
- Unusual fatigue
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Most whiplash injuries do not show up on imaging tests. Your doctor may order some tests to make sure that no other injuries have occurred.
Neck images may be taken to look for further damage. Images may be taken with:
- Neck x-rays
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- CT myelogram
An electromyogram may also be done to test for nerve damage.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include:
- Reducing discomfort with ice and/or heat therapy
- Taking over-the-counter and prescription medications to reduce pain
- Moving as you are able to reduce stiffness
- Physical therapy and exercises
- Joint manipulation of the spine done by a chiropractor or other trained provider
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Cervical Sprain and Neck Muscle Strain)
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Healthy Canadians http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
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