Is It Whiplash or Something Else? 4 Similar Car Crash Injuries

Whiplash is one of the most common car crash injuries, even for low-impact crashes. When the body is forced forward and backward abruptly, it creates trauma in the neck and head, which can lead to whiplash symptoms that may linger long after the wreck.

However, while whiplash is an easy diagnosis for neck and back pain, dizziness, and memory problems, it’s not always the issue. Several other car crash injuries can present similarly to whiplash, and because whiplash is so common, it may be misdiagnosed as such.

Learn the symptoms of whiplash and discover what other neck and back injuries might be behind them:


The symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck
  • Tenderness or pain in the shoulders, arms, or upper back
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Ears ringing
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating or with memory


A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a jolt, bump, or blow to the head. It affects your brain function, and while symptoms are usually temporary, it’s crucial to get a proper diagnosis right away so you can treat it appropriately and don’t increase the risk of complications.

Concussion symptoms include:

  • Feeling pressure in the head
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Groggy feeling
  • Trouble concentrating or memory problems
  • Sensitivity to noise or light

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can happen due to whiplash, but they’re not the same. When inflammation or internal injuries press against the nerves, it can cause nerve damage or a pinched nerve. If you’re diagnosed with whiplash, you may also want to ask your doctor to evaluate you for nerve damage.

Symptoms of nerve damage in the neck include:

  • Numbness or tingling down the arms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shooting or radiating pain from the neck

Slipped Disc

A slipped or bulging disc occurs from the trauma of a car crash in the cervical spine. The impact may have caused the cervical spine (the neck) to extend beyond its normal position, which can cause pain and apply pressure to surrounding nerves.

Slipped disc symptoms include:

  • Pain in neck, shoulders, and back
  • Pain when moving
  • Tingling or numbness in shoulders or arms
  • Reduced range of motion

Cervical Sprain or Strain

Another possibility is a cervical sprain or strain. A cervical sprain involves damage to the neck’s ligaments, while a strain would indicate damage to the muscles or tendons. Both sprains and strains are common injuries from car crashes and can vary in severity, from a mild tissue stretch to a severe tear.

Symptoms of a cervical sprain or strain:

  • Pain in the back of the neck or shoulder that gets more painful with movement
  • Trouble rotating the neck
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced range of motion

Whiplash or Something Else? Ask Our Chiropractors

If you’ve been recently involved in a car accident and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with our car accident chiropractors at Sea Change Wellness in St. Petersburg, Florida, for a complete evaluation and non-invasive, drug-free treatment.

Leave A Comment