Unusual Symptoms Of A Whiplash Injury

8 April 2018
 Categories: , Blog


If you have ever sustained a motor vehicle accident injury such as whiplash, then you may have experienced either neck pain, spinal pain, or lower back pain. A whiplash injury can also cause headaches, hip discomfort, and knee pain.

While these are the most common manifestations of whiplash, it can cause other, less common reactions. Here are three unusual symptoms of a whiplash injury and what you can do about them.

Facial Burning

Whiplash injuries can cause inflammation of certain cranial nerves such as the facial nerve. If facial nerve involvement occurs as a result of your whiplash, you may develop burning sensations of the forehead, cheek, lip, and chin.

Burning sensations related to facial nerve involvement typically subside once the whiplash injury subsides, but it may take months. In rare cases, facial nerve damage may be permanent. If your doctor suspects nerve damage, he or she may refer you to a neurologist for further evaluation and treatment. In the meantime, talk to your chiropractor about alternative treatments to help promote nerve health such as vitamin B and magnesium supplementation, gentle massage, heat therapy, and neck exercises.

Loss Of Smell

Another cranial nerve that may be involved in a whiplash injury is the olfactory nerve. If this nerve becomes damaged or inflamed, you may notice nasal congestion or loss of smell. You may also lose your sense of taste or experience a metallic or bitter taste in your mouth.

If you experience smell or taste abnormalities after your car accident, see your doctor, who may order diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging or CT scanning. If your sinuses are inflamed because of your whiplash, try inhaling steam which will help facilitate nasal breathing.

If your diagnostic imaging tests fail to reveal an abnormality, your physician may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat doctor to determine if your symptoms are related to your whiplash. 

Bladder Or Bowel Incontinence

Whiplash and motor vehicle-related spinal injuries can lead to urinary and bowel incontinence. If your whiplash injury is serious enough to cause inflammatory changes to your spinal cord, your bladder, ureters, and bowel may be compressed.

Also, whiplash-related numbness and tingling in your lower back and legs can cause bladder and bowel incontinence. As your whiplash injury resolves, so will your incontinence problems. To help ease your symptoms, visit your chiropractor who may recommend mild spinal manipulation or gentle therapeutic massage to help increase circulation while facilitating healing. 

If you have sustained a whiplash injury during a car accident, work with both your chiropractic physician as well as your family practice doctor. When you work with both of these professionals, you will be able to develop not only a conventional therapeutic plan of care but also a complementary or alternative treatment plan.