Symptoms of Common Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

Woman experiencing pain‚Äč

Motor vehicle accidents can cause several different injuries that are painful and make life more challenging. Get to know the symptoms of some of the more common motor vehicle accident injuries below, so you know when it’s time to get help.


Whiplash is an injury in which the muscles and other soft tissue in your neck stretch and tear due to a rapid jerking motion. The impact in an automobile accident causes the head to whip back and forth, causing the kind of jerking in your neck that stretches and tears the soft tissue.

Whiplash is usually not life-threatening, but it’s painful, limits your range of motion, and can get worse without treatment. Symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck
  • Pain getting worse with movement
  • Pain spreading from the neck into your shoulders
  • Tingling in the shoulders or arms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness


If your head jerks hard enough in an automobile accident or if there is a direct impact to your head, you may develop a concussion. This is an injury in which the brain collides against the inside of your skull.

Symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of memory of the accident
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light

Concussions are generally not life-threatening, but medical treatment helps improve your condition. Do not confuse a concussion for a more serious head injury. Seek emergency care if the symptoms also include:

  • The headache gradually growing worse and more debilitating
  • Lasting slurred speech
  • Lasting dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Changes in behavior
  • Visible signs of injury, including lacerations or swelling


A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament, which is a connective tissue that holds together the bones in your joints. Sprains vary in severity, but they almost always are painful and debilitating. The symptoms of a sprain include:

  • Pain and swelling in or near a joint
  • Limited range of motion in the joint
  • Inability to put weight on the joint
  • Bruising
  • Feeling a pop when the injury occurred


A strain is similar to a sprain in that it’s a stretch or tear, but it affects your muscles or tendons instead of the ligaments. Symptoms of a strain include:

  • Pain and tenderness along with your muscles or tendons
  • Weakness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling and bruising or redness


A fracture is a broken bone. Some fractures are only partial breaks to the bones while others are fully broken or shattered bones. The symptoms of a fracture include:

  • Swelling and bruising
  • A deformed appearance of the limb or joint
  • Inability to put weight on the injured limb
  • In some cases, visible protrusion of the bone through the skin

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for treatment if you’ve been in an accident

If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, you should always visit a health care professional for an examination, even if you don’t think you’re hurt. Our team can perform an examination and provide treatment for any injuries. Contact our team today for more information about accident injury treatment or call us at (888) 655-7473 to schedule an initial appointment.