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The Connection Between Whiplash and Traumatic Brain Injuries in Car Accidents

Symptoms of a Mild TBI

Are you suffering from a traumatic brain injury due to a car accident? Schedule an appointment with the compassionate neurologists at Neurodiagnostics Medical, P.C., to learn more about your treatment options. 

Injuries due to car accidents can range from a few bruises to life-altering traumatic brain injuries. In many cases, car accident victims experience whiplash, a common car accident injury that can lead to various other health issues. 

Can whiplash cause brain injury? Severe cases of whiplash can lead to brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. 

No matter how safe you drive, you can never predict when a car accident will happen. While some are simple fender benders that require little more than an exchange of insurance information, others can cause serious injuries or even death. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle accidents took the lives of approximately 44,450 people in 2023.

So, what’s the connection between whiplash and traumatic brain injuries following car accidents? When should you schedule an appointment with a compassionate neurologist in New York? We’ll explain everything you need to know here. 

How Does Whiplash Affect a Person After a Car Accident?

Whiplash is a surprisingly common injury that affects around 3 million people in the U.S. every year, according to the Mayo Health Clinic System. Many different types of incidents can cause whiplash, including car accidents. 

Although whiplash can cause serious head injuries, it’s actually an injury that affects your neck and upper back. During a car accident, your head can suddenly and drastically force forward and back. This essentially treats your neck like a whip.

Whiplash can cause a wide range of problems since it affects your muscles, nerves, discs, and tendons. Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Weakness
  • Numbness in your arms

Most whiplash injuries will affect your upper body parts due to it being the result of your neck moving forcefully back and forth, but in rare cases, you could also experience numbness or tingling in your legs. It can also cause more minor symptoms like tenderness in your shoulders or arms or a reduced range of motion in your neck. 

No two people experience whiplash symptoms the same way, but you can typically expect the effects of whiplash to last for a few months following your accident. 

The Most Common Signs of Whiplash After Car Accidents

Not all car accident victims immediately realize that they’re suffering from a whiplash injury. Regardless, it’s essential to visit a doctor as soon as possible to treat the injury and prevent it from causing worse symptoms. If you notice any of these signs following a car accident, schedule an appointment with your physician:

  • You’re more sensitive to sound than you were before the accident. 
  • You have a significantly reduced reaction time. 
  • Your communication ability is more scattered. 
  • You have psychosocial issues or a diminished IQ.

The good news is that you can recover from whiplash and its symptoms. Minor cases of whiplash can resolve on their own, but you typically need medical intervention for a successful recovery. Meeting with a neurologist is the best way to determine how severe your injury is, whether it caused other issues, and how long you can expect your recovery to take. 

The Relationship Between Whiplash and Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Relationship Between Whiplash and Traumatic Brain Injuries

So, how can whiplash cause brain injury? When your body suddenly jerks forward in a car accident, it can cause your brain to quickly and forcefully hit the sides of your skull. The result can be brain bruising, bleeding, or worse, all of which can lead to serious brain injuries. 

Something that makes this type of injury even more dangerous is that you might not realize you have it right away. The adrenaline coursing through your body immediately after an accident can make it easy to overlook potential injuries. Plus, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury typically won’t appear until a full 24 hours later, which is why you should seek immediate medical attention after a car accident, even if you feel fine. 

Suffering from a traumatic brain injury could cause a loss of balance, nausea, increased sensitivity to light, confusion, and more. In serious cases, it can also cause death. According to the CDC, the United States saw more than 69,000 deaths related to traumatic brain injuries

Schedule an Appointment With a Neurologist When You Suffer a Whiplash Injury After a Car Accident

Whiplash is, unfortunately, a common result of car accidents. While some people experience minor symptoms, others end up facing serious injuries, even traumatic brain injuries. Since whiplash injuries can lead to a wide range of different problems, it’s essential to see your doctor as soon as you can. 

If your doctor suggests that you have a brain injury or should see a neurologist, schedule an appointment with Neurodiagnostics Medical, P.C. Our doctors have experience treating multiple types of car accident injuries and can provide the compassionate care you need to start your journey toward recovery. We can also answer any questions you have, including, “Can whiplash cause brain injury after a car accident?” and, “What kind of treatment will help with my traumatic brain injury?

Call Neurodiagnostics Medical, P.C. at (347) 602-9530 to schedule your appointment. Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection. Same-day appointments may be available. Reach out to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury Show Up Right Away?

Traumatic brain injury symptoms don’t always show up immediately. They typically start to show up 24 hours after the accident. 

How Can a Neurologist Help Treat Whiplash and Brain Injuries?

Neurologists are doctors that specialize in brain-related injuries and health. They can use various types of treatments to address your brain injury depending on the cause and severity.

What Should You Do Right After a Car Accident?

You should seek medical attention right after a car accident and call your auto insurance company. 

Can Whiplash Cause Brain Injury After a Car Accident?

Yes, whiplash can cause multiple types of brain injuries after a car accident. 

About The Author

Picture of Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D. is a highly respected neurologist based in New York City. With over 20 years of experience in the field of neurology, he has earned a reputation as a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Malhotra is also a dedicated educator and researcher. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and has presented his research at national and international conferences.