What Muscles Are Affected By Whiplash?

Whiplash is a general term used to describe injuries that affect the cervical spine. The most common cause of whiplash is car accidents because when a car accident occurs, the head and neck are suddenly forced to rock back and forth, which is called hyperflexion and hyperextension. 

Understanding what whiplash is and how it affects parts of the body includes knowing which muscles are most affected by whiplash. Learning about whiplash could help you understand what you are going through after a whiplash accident. First, it is essential to understand what whiplash is.

What is whiplash? 

Whiplash refers to a specific type of neck injury, usually caused by violent whipping of the neck back and forth, especially in rear-end collisions or head-on collisions. In such a situation, the neck muscles might become severely strained or sprained. 

Some people think of whiplash as a minor neck injury, but whiplash can be very painful. Additionally, the pain associated with whiplash sometimes lasts for weeks, months, or even longer, leading to chronic neck pain for years to come. 

Which muscles are most affected by whiplash? 

There are seven different cervical vertebrae in the neck, ranging from C1 to C7. They are connected by muscles, ligaments, joints, intervertebral discs, and a system of nerves. The complexity of the neck anatomy, coupled with the dynamic and diverse range of motion it provides, makes the neck particularly vulnerable to whiplash-related injuries. Some of the general areas that suffer greatly in a whiplash injury include:

  • Shoulder Injury: The shoulder muscles are also often affected by whiplash. Depending on the accident, you may feel pain between the shoulder blades or shoulder muscles. 
  • Back Injury: The back muscles may also be affected. Even your lower back muscles can become tense because of a car accident. 

All parts of the neck are affected by whiplash injuries because whiplash injuries involve back and forth impact to the entire head and neck, causing pressure and damage to the cervical spine and the tissues and nerves that surround it. 

The primary injuries from whiplash include:

  • Interspinous ligament tears 
  • Spinous process fractures 
  • Intervertebral disc ruptures
  • End plate avulsions 
  • C2 fossa fractures 
  • Occipital and cervical joint complex strains 
  • Yellow ligament tears 
  • Fractures and tears of the facet joints 
  • Hypertension of the anterior neck muscles 

Most patients do not require surgery, so their soft tissue damage may go unnoticed or untreated.

Many symptoms associated with whiplash injuries result from injuries to the soft tissues of the neck and intervertebral discs, muscles, and ligaments. When a muscle tear occurs, the symptoms usually begin with burning pain and are accompanied by a tingling sensation. 

When ligaments are affected, they can cause defensive muscle tension, restrict movement and cause so-called neck distortions. This happens when the muscles used for head extension and rotation cause the neck to twist involuntarily. 

The involvement of different parts of the neck anatomy will depend on the severity of the impact injury. The more significant the impact of the injury, the more delicate features of the neck (such as the ligaments and muscles between the shoulder and the skull base) are usually damaged.

Many people face disabling conditions due to such injuries that qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA may grant an application for benefits if you meet certain basic criteria and provide medical documentation showing valid proof of disabling conditions.


There are many symptoms associated with whiplash-related injuries, including: 

  • Neck and shoulder pain 
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders 
  • Using special techniques such as sports massage to help relax the muscles in the back and neck
  • Dizziness and nausea 
  • Pain in the arms and shoulders
  • Headache 
  • Numbness and tingling, also called paresthesia 
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing in rare cases

Symptoms usually appear rapidly within two hours of the initial injury. Within a few hours after the initial injury, they can progress from mild to much more severe.


The consequences of whiplash range from mild neck pain to severe nerve problems. A damaged muscle, if left untreated, can turn into a long-term issue that becomes a financial burden. Several factors are responsible for how severe an injury turns out to be for an individual:

  • The severity of the incident – A slight increase in the force exerted on the muscles can significantly impact the damage done. 
  • Age -Older people with weaker bones and muscles are more susceptible to these types of injuries. 
  • Pre-existing conditions – These injuries can aggravate already existing neck and back problems. 
  • A previous whiplash incident – If the injured party recovers from the last accident, getting injured again will make things worse.

How can an attorney help with the case? 

If another driver is clearly at fault for your accident and your neck is injured, you may think you do not need a lawyer. Claims for neck injury often turn out to be challenging legal cases. That is because insurance companies often question such damages, especially when it comes to whiplash. It is common for insurance companies to reject such claims or offer a woefully low settlement amount. 

When it comes to neck injury claims, there is generally a considerable sum of money at stake. Make sure you make the most of the opportunity to get the financial compensation you deserve. Ensure that an experienced Disability Lawyers In Texas assists you throughout the process.

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