Whiplash can lead to arthritis in some patients. Car accidents that affect the neck can irritate and even tear loose connective tissue in the neck and upper back. This can create weakness that allows the spine to break down faster due to misalignment. The longer your spine is misaligned, the more the neck and spine will wear down joints, discs and muscles.
Some doctors who see car accident victims have found that X-rays show that many have disc disease and arthritis in the neck. This research suggests it is certainly possible that the whiplash injury and resulting disability such as arthritis could be related to each other.
It is important to have your neck pain diagnosed as soon as you can after the accident, so treatment can begin.