Does a Headache after a Car Accident Mean I Have Whiplash?

Apr 20, 2021

Does a Headache after a Car Accident Mean I Have WhiplashIf you or someone you know has ever been in a car accident then you’ve likely been checked out by a doctor for whiplash. Whiplash is the most common car accident injury because, while your upper body is typically secured by a seat belt, your head and neck are left to jostle around with the force of the accident. When your head and neck get shaken up or snap forward and backward pretty violently upon impact then whiplash is very likely. Whiplash is also a tricky car accident injury because symptoms don’t always show up right away, which is why you want to get checked out by a Marietta whiplash chiropractor after a car accident.

Headache Pain after a Car Accident

One of the first things you might notice after a car accident is a headache. The stress and trauma of the accident can get adrenaline pumping through your body and you might not notice much more than a few scrapes and bruises at first. However, once your adrenaline starts to wear off the pain tends to set in. Headaches after an accident may occur due to the emotional stress of the accident but they can also be a sign of something physical going on too.

A headache after a car accident, especially one that doesn’t go away or gets gradually worse as time goes on, is typically a sign that you have whiplash or another car accident injury. Oftentimes, developing painful and even debilitating headaches after a car accident is what causes people to reach out to a whiplash chiropractor for help.

Whiplash Symptoms

Headache pain is one of the most common symptoms of whiplash and may be the first symptom you notice after a car accident. These headaches might seem different than other headaches you’ve experienced because the pain tends to occur at the back of the head. Headaches after a car accident can also feel like a migraine or you might notice pain behind your forehead and eyes.

Other symptoms of whiplash include muscle pain in your neck, back, and even shoulders. When your head and neck are thrown forward and snap backward roughly during the accident, it can cause the muscles in your neck to strain and stretch uncomfortably. Stress to your neck muscles can lead to swelling and tenderness in the area. Many people who experience whiplash also describe difficulty turning their neck from side to side without considerable pain and stiffness.

Diagnosing Whiplash

There isn’t one specific test your doctor can run to diagnose whiplash. Instead, your doctor will want to hear about your symptoms, including when they started and how the severity has changed in the days or weeks since the accident. A whiplash chiropractor will perform a physical exam and assess the spine and muscles of your neck and upper back. Diagnostic imaging tools like X-rays or an MRI may also be utilized to rule out other injuries, like a concussion, fracture, or herniated disc.

Treating Whiplash

A whiplash chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that addresses both your whiplash symptoms and also the root cause of the pain. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medications to help with the pain symptoms, though these typically only mask the symptoms and do not provide any lasting relief. Instead, a whiplash chiropractor will use a drug-free treatment approach to your head and neck pain through gentle, noninvasive chiropractic techniques that address your entire musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractic care for whiplash may involve identifying any misalignments in your spine caused by the accident and using therapeutic adjustments to restore proper posture. A whiplash chiropractor may also utilize therapeutic massage to help address inflammation, tenderness, and stiffness in your neck and back muscles. Once the swelling has gone down, your chiropractor may also recommend specific stretches and exercises that can help promote healing and restore the range of motion in your neck.

Headaches caused by whiplash may not go away on their own, which is where your whiplash chiropractor can help. By addressing the root cause of your pain, you can start to experience lasting relief from headache pain. As your body slowly heals, your whiplash chiropractor may recommend avoiding certain movements and activities so as not to aggravate your healing body. If you’re experiencing headaches after a car accident and think whiplash might be the culprit then visit AICA Orthopedics in Marietta and speak with a whiplash chiropractor today!