How Long Does It Take to Recover from Whiplash

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Whiplash

Whiplash earned its name because the movement of your neck during impact resembles the fast snapping action of a whip. Just picturing the force of that kind of rapid movement gives you an idea of how whiplash traumatizes the tendons, ligaments, nerves, muscles, vertebrae, and vertebral discs in your neck.

Whiplash doesn’t have to be a back-and-forth motion — the term encompasses all sudden, forceful movements that jar your cervical spine (neck) out of alignment — and a whiplash injury can have a lasting impact on your health and mobility.

Don’t wait for symptoms

Whiplash, also known as cervical acceleration/deceleration (CAD) trauma, is actually a sprain in your neck. Immediately after your accident, you may feel pain or you may feel nothing at all. Within 24 hours, you may notice the most common symptoms of whiplash, such as:

If you don’t get treatment for whiplash at this stage, your pain could persist for weeks, months, or even for your lifetime. When your injuries are minor and limited to the soft tissues, they may heal on their own within about 6-10 weeks.

The stress on your tissues, however, may create other subluxations (misalignments) in your spine. Expert chiropractor Bryan Weddle of DMC Healthcare in Dallas recommends that you get evaluated for whiplash and other neck injuries immediately after a car crash, sporting accident, blow, or any other traumatic incident — even if you haven’t experienced any symptoms.

Why you feel “okay” after an accident

When your body is subjected to forces that push it beyond its normal range of motion, you can go into a mild state of shock that dulls your sensation of pain. If you don’t realize you’ve injured a body part, you may continue to stress it and cause even more damage.

While Dr. Weddle discusses your reports about pain or lack of it, he also thoroughly examines the soft tissues, bones, and discs in your neck to identify all possible points of damage. Depending on his findings, he may choose from a variety of techniques and therapies to help your neck start healing and restore function, including:

Your pain may be delayed after whiplash

One of the trickiest aspects of whiplash is something called “late whiplash syndrome,” in which symptoms last for two years or more or don’t appear until weeks or months after your accident. When your pain lasts longer than 10 weeks, you may have accompanying injuries, such as:

Researchers believe that some pain and headaches that persist or worsen in late whiplash syndrome may actually be a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A blow to the head, collision, or car crash is a life-threatening event that can cause psychosocial stress that translates into physical symptoms.

Chiropractic treatments heal, not mask

Traditional pain medications usually don’t do much more than mask your symptoms. The aim of chiropractic medicine is to put your body into a healthy state so that it can heal itself. Dr. Weddle begins this process by ensuring that your spine is in proper alignment through chiropractic adjustments.

Chiropractic medicine considers you as a whole being, which means that the psychological aspects of your accident are just as important as the physical ones. By relieving any pain or symptoms, restoring motion to your neck and shoulders, easing tensed muscles and tendons, and recommending relaxation techniques, Dr. Weddle helps you start the healing process.

While healing times vary by individual, chiropractic medicine speeds your recovery after whiplash and helps prevent or diminish chronic symptoms. If you’ve suffered an unexpected force to your neck, contact Dr. Weddle for a whiplash evaluation. You can call his friendly team at DMC Healthcare or use the online booking form.

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