How is whiplash diagnosed after a car accident?  After the physical examination and any x-rays, the doctor may order some more advanced or detailed imaging studies.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

If more information is needed, your doctor may order an MRI. The MRI machine uses magnetic waves rather than x-rays to create pictures of the cervical spine in slices. MRIs show the cervical spine vertebrae, as well as the soft tissue structures, such as the discs, joints, and nerves. MRI scans are painless and don’t require needles or dye. MRI scan has become the most common test to look at the cervical spine after x-rays have been taken.

Computed Tomography (CT)

CT scan is a special type of x-ray that lets doctors see slices of bone tissue. The machine uses a computer and x-rays to create these slices. It is used primarily when problems are suspected in the bones.


The myelogram is a special kind of x-ray test where a special dye is injected into the spinal sac. The dye shows up on an x-ray. It helps a doctor see if there is a herniated disc or pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves. The myelogram is still used today but not nearly as often. The myelogram is usually combined with CT scan to give more detail.

Bone Scan

A bone scan is a special test where radioactive tracers are injected into your blood stream. The tracers then show up on special x-rays of your neck. The tracers build up in areas where bone is undergoing a rapid repair process, such as a healing fracture or the area surrounding an infection or tumor. Usually the bone scan is used to locate the problem and other tests such as the CT scan or MRI scan are then used to look at the area in detail.

Electromyogram (EMG)

An electromyogram (EMG) is a special test used to determine if there are problems with any of the nerves going to the arms. EMGs are usually done to see if a nerve root has been pinched by a herniated disc. During the test, small needles are placed into certain muscles that are supplied by each nerve root. If there has been a change in the function of the nerve, the muscle will send off different types of electrical signals to help determine which nerve root is involved.

McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have experience in getting the best results in whiplash from automobile accidents and collisions.  Neck pain and tingling down the arm are primary whiplash symptoms that cause a doctor to order more detailed diagnostic tests with positive results.