How Long Does Whiplash Last?

Aug 15, 2020

How Long Does Whiplash LastWhile car accidents often happen in a split second, the effects can be part of your life for long after the event. In addition to dealing with insurance, mechanics, and police report, many people will also have to deal with injuries like whiplash. Not only can whiplash be painful and frustrating, but it can also be difficult to recover from quickly. With the help of a car accident doctor in Lithia Springs, your whiplash treatment can be designed to best help you recover in a timely and safe manner.

Why Whiplash Happens

Many injuries sustained in a car crash are the result of your body hitting against a hard surface- your head can slam into a steering wheel, or bones can break when you brace yourself with your limbs, for example. Whiplash is unique because it is caused by the movement of your body alone. When you are in a car upon impact, your head is likely to jerk forward and backward at an unusual speed, like the motion of a whip. This can tear and stretch the soft tissues in your neck.

Car accidents aren’t the only way that this can happen. Whiplash can occur during sporting events like rugby or boxing, or as a result of a fall or other injury. However, it most commonly is a result of a car accident when a slow vehicle is hit from behind.

Common Whiplash Symptoms

In some cases, you may begin to feel symptoms of whiplash as soon as it happens, but it is more common to notice them after a few hours, or even days. An accident can cause our bodies to go into shock, or into fight or flight mode, releasing hormones that hide pain and make it difficult to notice injuries right away. Over time, these hormones subside and we can begin to assess any unusual pains or behaviors that have begun.

The most common way you can identify whiplash is persistent neck pain and stiffness. Because the neck is where the primary injury is, this is most likely to be where you experience pain and other symptoms. However, it is also common to feel shoulder and upper back pain, or even tingling and pain that radiates down the arms. In addition to these sensations, whiplash can also cause headaches because of the inflammation and irritation near the head. You may also experience fatigue, dizziness, or trouble sleeping as a result of the injury.

If you think you may have whiplash, it is important to seek the care of a car accident doctor in Lithia Springs as soon as possible. Many of these symptoms can overlap with other, more serious conditions that should be ruled out.

How Whiplash Is Treated

Whiplash can vary in severity, meaning that treatment options will change based on your particular case. Most cases of whiplash will initially be treated with anti-inflammatory medication and instructions to ice and rest while at home. While rest is important to not strain the neck further, you will likely not be given a brace or collar to treat whiplash, as gentle movement can help you recover more quickly.

Physical therapy will most likely be used, either in-office or through a series of home exercises, to help the neck regain strength and mobility. This is often paired with massage and chiropractic adjustments to help the tissues and spine heal properly.

In most cases, whiplash will not require further invasive treatment, though severe cases may differ. Pain management and mobility will be the focus of any treatment plan.

Healing Timeline

While whiplash can be painful and recovery can feel slow, it very rarely results in more long term complications. About 90% of cases will see neck pain gone within 3 months, and most people are back to their old activities within 8 weeks.

People who have had whiplash or similar injuries previously, have back pain, or are older can all be at risk for a longer timeline when dealing with whiplash. When whiplash symptoms extend beyond 6 months, this is called chronic whiplash and can indicate more permanent damage was done. When this happens, your doctor will work with you on options for treating whiplash.

The sooner you are able to visit a car accident doctor in Lithia Springs for your whiplash, the sooner you can begin the path to healing. At AICA Lithia Springs, our chiropractors, doctors, and extended team of specialists have seen whiplash countless times and can work with you on a plan that meets your preferences and needs. Even if you have not begun to experience symptoms of whiplash after your car accident, contact AICA Lithia Springs today to begin treatment that’s right for you.


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