According to research, whiplash can result in injuries to your cervical spine, also known as your neck. It has also been discovered that those who suffer from whiplash face an increased risk of traumatic brain injury. 

How does brain injury happen? 

A brain injury can happen even without a direct impact to the head. In cases (such as whiplash) where the brain gets distorted, if it is twisted or compressed within the skull, it can cause damage along with electrochemical disruption.

Before we go too deeply into the connection between brain injury and whiplash, first, let’s understand whiplash and how it affects a person.

Whiplash is a common injury. It happens when there is a rapid and unrestrained forward and backward movement of the neck and head. It usually happens during a car accident, and is extremely common in a rear-end auto accident. 

A whiplash injury is damage caused to the soft tissue and bone structures of your cervical spine. While whiplash is not a life-threatening injury, in many situations, it can cause partial disability, and limit your ability to do daily activities. 

Whiplash can also occur from riding roller coasters, falling, and even in what we would consider a minor car accident. You can get whiplash from being in a car accident that is as low as a few miles per hour, you don’t need to be in a high speed crash to get whiplash. 

There are several long-term side-effects of whiplash.

 Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • weakness
  • pain in the neck
  • numbness or tingling sensation

Whiplash is a common side effect of a brain injury, including closed head injuries like concussions. 

It is very important that if you have whiplash, that you get examined by a medical professional, like a chiropractor at one of our locations in American Fork, Provo, West Valley or SpanishFork. 

If you have a brain injury or a concussion, it is not uncommon to have your cognitive thinking  affected. If this happens, there may be problems with paying attention, specifically with multitasking, and dividing focus. Additionally, some people might also face problems in processing information in the correct way.

Here are some symptoms people with brain injuries or concussions might experience:

  • increased sound sensitivity;
  • disorganized or scattered communication skills;
  • psychological problems;
  • slow or reduced reaction time; or 
  • difficulty remembering things, including where they put their keys or wallet. 

All the above are cognitive symptoms that could arise due to an injury to the brain. These can be long-term side effects, and it is important that if you have whiplash in conjunction with any of these symptoms you see a medical professional as soon as possible. 

Existing Studies on Whiplash and Brain Injury

There are many studies on the relationship between brain injury and whiplash. One study, found in a review of 1,200 patients with neck pain, that 23 percent had an injury to their brain.

In at least 40 percent of car accident cases, people suffered from brain injuries. In all such situations, symptoms are different – some people have mild; others have quite severe injuries. The results of these studies reveal that whiplash can happen in minor incidents and still lead to difficult medical conditions. 

Don’t wait to get treatment for acute pain or injuries, because waiting can only increase your risk for long-term and chronic pain. 

Brain Injury Symptoms After Whiplash

Brain injuries are about a chain of events. The effects are usually felt within 1 to 24 hours after the accident. In most cases, when individuals are injured and it involves the head, people rush to the emergency room immediately. However, in emergency situations, brain injuries are often misdiagnosed by the doctor.

Traumatic brain injury symptoms are not felt immediately after the injury. Those who have ongoing symptoms which do not seem to improve should return to the medical facility where they were first treated if possible for re-evaluation. 

When Should You Worry?

As per a study in Neurology, there are certain brain injuries which one should worry about. According to the study, a little bump may not be severe and it might not lead to memory and thinking problems right away. 

Here are some results of the study:

  • People who suffer from a moderate or mild brain injury often have damage to white matter. This means there was a disruption to the nerve axons that connect brain cells.
  • Such patients scored at least 25 percent lower on thinking skills and memory which measure verbal fluency. It was closely linked to white matter damage to the brain.
  • There were no differences in thinking skills and memory in patients with brain injury, in spite of the damage caused to the nerve cells.

It should be noted that often with time thinking skills can improve.

It was however seen that in some people, the symptoms were more evident after a year. This means that the brain might actually be compensating for the damage. And it is important that if you suspect you have a brain injury that you look for someone who is focused on helping your brain to improve and not simply compensate. 

However, it is necessary for patients to be aware of some of the many long-term effects of the condition. 

These include:

  • headaches
  • sleep-related problems
  • seizures
  • visual problems

If you have been in a car accident, it is imperative to have a thorough evaluation done by a doctor or an  accident specialist because they know the best steps to take to help you recover from this particular type of injury. If you are injured in an accident and do not feel well or need to go to the emergency room, do not wait. It is important that you know that you have car insurance for a reason, and if you need treatment you deserve to get the care you need. 

Access Accident Center has over 10 years of experience and specializes in helping people like you improve their whiplash and brain injury symptoms after a car accident. We are open and taking new patients throughout central Utah, as essential healthcare workers. Call Us Today or schedule your appointment at any of our four locations: American Fork, Provo, Spanish Fork, and West Valley

We look forward to helping you make improvements and reach the best recovery possible.

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