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Whiplash and Neck Injuries After an Illinois Motor Vehicle Collision

Even seemingly minor accidents can result in soft tissue injuries like whiplash. If you have been involved in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident and you are having pain in your neck and/or back; it is imperative that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Your neck is more exposed than the rest of the spine during a collision, which is why it can sustain injuries — even in a slow-speed collision.

It can take several days before you feel the full range of pain. Sometimes minor neck injuries require weeks or months of physical therapy, and more serious cases may require surgery. It is not uncommon for people to mistake pain for a muscle ache when it is actually a herniated disk or ligament sprain. After you have seen a medical provider, you should contact an Illinois car accident attorney who can help you pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.

Here is a look at some of the more common neck injuries sustained in vehicle collisions.


While whiplash is most commonly associated with car accidents, the truth is it can also happen from other types of powerful and sudden force that pushes the head and neck quickly in a back and forth motion. This sudden motion causes your neck ligaments and muscles to stretch past their regular range of motion, which can then cause injuries. Whiplash is often used to cover all soft tissue neck injuries like neck sprain and strain too. 

Symptoms of whiplash may not appear immediately. It can take several days, and the pain may go away in a day or two, or last for weeks, or even months. Whiplash symptoms can include: 

  • Headaches
  • Neck stiffness and soreness
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Pain
  • Lethargy

To diagnose whiplash, medical professionals will examine your neck, upper back, and shoulders for a reduced range of motion, pain, and tenderness. They may also recommend you have imagining studies like X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI to assess the extent of the damage. 

Neck Strain or Sprain

Neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons can be injured in a car accident. They may have symptoms that overlap, but they involve different parts of the body. A neck sprain involves the ligaments, which are the connective bands of tissue, while a neck strain involves the muscles or tendons, which connect the muscle to the bone. Some common symptoms of a neck strain and sprain include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain or discomfort that is stronger when you move your neck
  • Bruises
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness or tightness in the neck and possibly shoulders
  • Limited range of motion in neck

Like the methods used to diagnose whiplash, medical professionals will rely on objective evaluations and imaging studies to determine the extent of your neck strain or sprain.

Pinched Nerve or Herniated Disk

In more serious cases, you may be dealing with a pinched nerve, which can cause sharp, burning pain and numbness. A herniated disk is when the soft gel from inside the disk is pushed out between the vertebrae, which can cause shooting pain in your neck that radiates down your arm, along with numbness.

Contact an Illinois Car Accident Attorney

If you suffered a neck injury due to a car accident that was someone else’s fault, contact the Illinois personal injury attorneys at Brassfield & Krueger, LTD., to schedule an initial consultation.

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