Neck pain is a common occurrence after a whiplash injury, but some people don't experience it until hours, days, or even weeks later. This delayed onset of symptoms does not necessarily mean the injury is more serious, but it should not be ignored. It's possible to have whiplash and not have any symptoms at all, or they may not appear until after the injury has occurred. Many people feel fine after a car accident, only to experience pain and stiffness in their neck 12 hours later.
Whiplash can stretch or tear the muscles of the upper back, as well as the discs and ligaments of the spine. Most people will have symptoms within 24 hours, but it may take a few days before they become noticeable. Consulting with a pain management expert is the best way to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan so that you can heal quickly and appropriately. If you faint or lose consciousness during the event that caused your whiplash, you should not attempt to treat it on your own.
The severity of the whiplash and hyperextension or compression of the neck will determine the type of symptoms you experience. Contrary to popular belief, immobilizing your neck with a neck brace is not the primary treatment for whiplash. Whiplash injuries can range from mild to serious; however, it's always best to get chiropractic treatment after an injury like this occurs to ensure that it doesn't worsen or persist. The amount of time it takes to recover from whiplash depends on several factors such as the cause of the whiplash, personal circumstances, health history, and more.
The goal of treatment is to allow whiplash to heal as much as possible on its own while at the same time supporting that healing process and minimizing symptoms. If you wait too long to get treatment for your whiplash injury, it may worsen and you could suffer from it for much longer than necessary.