Should I Get an MRI if I have Whiplash?


Some whiplash injuries heal on their own with minimal treatment. However, such injuries can develop long-term problems. MRIs can help predict whether an injury is severe enough, and can help you receive the right treatment from the start to prevent future complications.

Most whiplash injuries are self-diagnosable, but are not always self-treatable. Most people fully recover from whiplash during the first few months, but approximately 25% have long-term pain and disability that can last anywhere from a few months to years.

How Does Whiplash Happen?

The most common whiplash injuries occur in rear-end collisions. The more forceful and sudden an impact is, the more damage to the soft tissues of the body. In the resting state, the head and neck are normally aligned and the spinal chord holds its regular C-shape. Once impact occurs, the head is abruptly thrown backwards into hyper extension, then immediately into hyper flexion. This results in a range of movements outside the body’s normal limits, sometimes creating serious neck injuries and back pain.


How Do MRIs Help?

MRI imaging allows medical experts to predict within the first or second week of injury whether a victim will develop chronic pain, disability, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This allows doctors to treat those patients who require such attention early on with more specialized treatment to avoid long-term complications.

Before an accident, the spine is normally aligned in an elongated C-shape. MRIs can help determine whether you have significant damage in your spinal chord, where the x-ray would reveal an S-shaped spine. This suggests misalignment of the spine, which can cause long-term issues if left untreated.

before after

Most whiplash treatment begins with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice. However, when pain persists, treatments such as physical therapy, prescription medications, or injections in the neck can help.

The most important thing to remember is to seek medical care immediately after an accident to avoid losing your benefits. Medical treatment will be covered by PIP insurance, only if you first report an injury within the first 14 days of an accident in Florida. These laws vary by state; for example, you have 30 days in New York to report a PIP claim.


  • Mild to severe pain in the neck and shoulders.
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nerve injury
  • Sensation of pain and needles
  • Stiff neck
  • Tenderness
  • Therapies

Chiropractic treatment techniques

  • Stretching
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage

It’s important to seek the right treatment as soon as possible so you can go through the best immediate post-accident care and get the best therapy for you. If you are unsure about what to do after you’ve been injured in an accident, contact us, so we can send you to the nearest medical center in our network for your specific injuries, and get your claim taken care of by aggressive, knowledgeable car accident attorneys in our network who have over 35 years of experience in the personal injury field. Call 1-800-Injured today to receive outstanding care and service from our network of medical and legal teams of experts.

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