Diagnosing whiplash can be a complicated task. This is because the symptoms of whiplash may not occur immediately after an accident. However, some signs and symptoms are common with whiplash, and along with further testing, they can be used to appropriately diagnose a whiplash injury.
If whiplash is experienced immediately after an accident, an emergency medical services team may place the patient into a cervical collar or stabilize them on a backboard to prevent further injury. A physician will inspect the patient’s neck and head for signs of trauma, externally, which can include cuts, bruises, swelling, and abrasions. Physicians may ask their patients to move their neck in certain directions to determine if any numbness, tingling, or pain is experienced.