Whiplash Injury or Concussion? Here’s How to Tell

Both whiplash and concussions are two of the most common injuries that victims of car accidents walk away with. Both require specific recovery procedures and it is important to know the difference between them.

The problem is that whiplash and concussions share many overlapping symptoms, making it easy to mistake one for the other.

How can you determine if you have whiplash vs concussion symptoms?

You’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out the difference between whiplash and a concussion and what you should do if you have one or the other.

Whiplash vs Concussion: Type of Injury

Whiplash refers to a hyperextension of the muscles and ligaments in the neck which can cause tearing, knotting, or soreness. This occurs when the head is whipped violently back and forth, as often occurs during a car accident.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain tissue is stretched or damaged. This kind of injury also occurs when your head is whipped back and forth or when your head hits something solid, like a window or steering wheel. The stretching and damage in the brain tissue cause temporary chemical imbalances.

Whiplash vs Concussion: Symptoms

First, let’s talk about the symptoms you may experience due to whiplash or a concussion. The following are shared symptoms and could indicate either type of injury:

  • Balance issues
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue or disturbance of normal sleep patterns
  • Headache
  • Issues with memory or concentration

Now, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms that are more specific to whiplash:

  • Stiffness or pain in the neck
  • Worsening neck pain in response to movement
  • Upper back pain
  • Numbness or “pins and needles” in the shoulders and upper arms

There are also symptoms that are specific to concussions, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Changes in mood or demeanor
  • Tinnitus
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of consciousness (rare)

Most of the time, the symptoms of both whiplash and concussions will clear up in about four weeks. However, it is important that you seek proper treatment.

Whiplash vs Concussion: Treatment

Because whiplash is primarily muscular, it is best to seek chiropractic massage. In fact, if you are the victim of a car crash, it is important that you seek specific Car Accident Whiplash Treatments, as this can become a crucial factor in your personal injury claim.

For the most part, your brain must heal from a concussion on its own. However, you should still consult a doctor. At the very least, anyone with a concussion should rest and limit activities that require serious thinking and focus for at least two days after the injury occurs.

Make Sure You Know What Ailment You Have to Seek Proper Treatment

After a car accident, your biggest priority is to get your life back on track. The proper medical treatment is an important part of that process. Understand the differences between whiplash vs concussion symptoms to make sure that you get the treatment you need.

Looking for more helpful health advice? Take a look at our health section for the resources you need to live a healthy lifestyle.


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