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How Long Does Whiplash Last from a Car Accident?

woman reading phone look stressedIn a car accident, whiplash can occur when the impact jolts the neck back and forth rapidly. Symptoms can take 24 hours or more to appear, but the biggest question any whiplash victim has is: How long is this going to last?

Symptoms of whiplash can be uncomfortable or even debilitating. Naturally, your biggest concern is getting back to normal and getting over the pain as quickly as possible.

The recovery period for whiplash really depends on the severity of the injury and the treatment you seek.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Whiplash?

Although it’s considered a minor injury, whiplash can have a very long recovery period. A 1986 study from Arthur Ameis found that 71% of people who suffered from whiplash still had some symptoms more than seven years later.

Ameis found that nearly all patients with a moderate whiplash injury had reached full recovery after 18-24 months. However, some patients reported still being in recovery up to five years later.

In cases of mild whiplash, it may only take a few days to recover from the injury. Pain and stiffness may be severe initially, but the symptoms disappear quickly.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, most people with whiplash will recover within three months.
It’s important to remember that everyone heals at their own pace. It may take longer for your injury to heal compared to someone else with a similar case of whiplash. But no matter how long the road, most people will make a full recovery within a few months.

What About Serious Whiplash?

Serious car accidents can cause a more severe case of whiplash, which can take months to recover from. Along with severe pain, you may have trouble moving your neck and head.

In rare cases, the symptoms never fully disappear. The chronic pain and stiffness will require long-term, potentially lifelong, treatment.
The recovery time for serious whiplash really depends on the treatment you seek and the extent of the injury. Long-term rehabilitation and therapy may be required.

What are the Complications of Whiplash?

For some people, whiplash can cause chronic headaches and pain that last for years after the accident. In some cases, the pain is caused by a damaged ligament, joint or disk, but most of the time, there’s no explanation for the pain.

Fortunately, long-term complications are rare. With treatment and care, most people will fully recover from whiplash without any lasting symptoms.

The Long-Term Effects of Whiplash

When recovery takes six months or more, it then becomes chronic whiplash. Along with severe pain, you may also experience:

  • Vertigo
  • Stiffness and mobility issues
  • Vertebrae misalignment
  • Chronic headache
  • Degenerative disc disease

Although rare, the long-term effects of serious injuries may require ongoing treatment and therapy.

When left untreated, whiplash symptoms can last much longer than they need to. If you think you may be suffering from whiplash, it is important to seek treatment, even if it is a mild case.

The great new is Chiropractic care has a proven track record and helping people in Winnipeg ease the pain from whiplash injuries and kickstart the healing process. If you have been injured in a car accident, make sure you reach out to us to see how we can help!

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