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Whiplash on MRI: Will It Show Up?

Whiplash on MRI

Do you need an MRI after a car accident? Call (718) 400-6369 to schedule an appointment at Brooklyn Open MRI.

If you’ve been in a car accident, you might wonder if doctors can detect whiplash on MRI scans. 

An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan gives medical professionals a closer look at your body’s internal structure, such as your organs.

Whiplash is a common neck and spine injury after motor vehicle accidents. The rapid movement of the head at the moment of impact can damage the cervical spine. A 2020 study from Maastricht University reported over 840,000 whiplash injuries out of 869,000 injuries to the spine after car crashes. 

The sooner you get an MRI for car accident injuries, the more quickly you might be able to get treatment to reduce the risk of long-term damage and relieve your symptoms.

Effects of Whiplash

A 2020 review article in the journal Pain found that 84% of patients reported neck pain within one week of injury, and 38% reported neck pain a year later. Patients also tended to report headaches. However, these are not the only symptoms of whiplash. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash can cause the following clinical symptoms:

  • Reduced range of motion in your neck and shoulders
  • Pain that gets worse when you move your neck
  • Tiredness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Dizziness
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration

A 2020 Japanese study that followed up on people with whiplash injuries 20 years later found that 72% reported stiff shoulders and 24% reported headaches.

Can You See Whiplash on MRI After a Car Accident?

Magnetic resonance imaging uses a magnetic field and radio waves to examine the body’s tissues, including the head, neck, and spine. In the aftermath of a traffic accident, MRI data can reveal damage to bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, discs, and soft tissue.

Functional MRI and high-resolution static MRI can show soft-tissue damage that whiplash injuries cause. With these diagnostic tools, doctors can connect patients’ pain to the physical spine and neck issues and prescribe treatment.

In the past, MRI scans could not detect evidence of whiplash. However, more recent research using diffusion tensor tractography and fat and water MRI can detect evidence of damage that conventional approaches might miss.  

Radiologists who know how to look for signs of whiplash on MRI scans are potentially better able to provide appropriate treatment.

When You Need a Brooklyn MRI, Visit Our Open MRI Today

If you have a neck injury, Brooklyn Open MRI in Brooklyn, NY, offers convenient, state-of-the-art MRI scans that could be the first step in getting the treatment and support you need. 

Our MRI facility accepts most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available. 

Learn more about how to prepare before an MRI and call to schedule an appointment today or discuss whether you might expect to see signs of whiplash on MRI scans.

Call (718) 400-6369 to schedule your appointment at Brooklyn Open MRI.