Whiplash symptoms may worsen over time if left untreated, so it is important to seek medical attention after a car accident or other type of accident that could result in whiplash. This acute pain usually occurs a few hours, days, or a few weeks after the injury, but late or late whiplash is pain that persists months after the injury or becomes chronic. When the initial injury occurs, physical changes occur in the cervical spine and the cervicocranial junction (where the base of the skull meets the neck). If these changes are not corrected with appropriate pain management treatment, the discomfort will persist and may return or worsen over time.
Common symptoms of whiplash include a stiff neck, pain, and recurring headaches. If you start to feel pain in your neck and shoulders, or pain in your back, it may be a sign of whiplash. Most people with whiplash get better within a few weeks if they follow a treatment plan approved by their doctor. However, if left untreated, some people have chronic neck pain and other lasting complications that can seriously affect their health, work, and daily life.
Most people with whiplash, especially in the lower grades, can recover in a few days or a few weeks. A more severe whiplash may take several weeks or even months to heal. Neck pain and stiffness usually worsen the day after the injury and may continue to worsen for several days afterward. A physical therapist or chiropractor can perform an exam to recognize the signs and symptoms of whiplash and create an individualized treatment plan for your recovery, which usually includes a combination of pain medications and specific exercises.
Headaches that persist for several months after suffering a whiplash injury are usually attributed to that injury and usually require medications and physical adjustments or treatments to resolve them. If you faint or lose consciousness due to the event that caused your whiplash, you should not try to treat it on your own. Whiplash is usually a self-limiting condition, meaning that it gets better over time on its own or after some basic treatment. There is little scientific evidence to suggest which treatments are most effective for treating prolonged whiplash.
Instead, 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. The symptoms of whiplash depend on the severity of the whiplash and the severity of the hyperextension or compression of the neck. The time it takes to recover from whiplash depends on the treatments themselves, as well as factors such as the cause of the whiplash, personal circumstances, health history, and more. It is essential to seek professional care immediately after experiencing symptoms of whiplash or being involved in a car accident, as leaving it untreated can have serious negative impacts on health.
Chronic headaches and pain or pain that radiates at the base of the skull may return immediately after whiplash or in the days or weeks after and may worsen without treatment. The goal of treating whiplash is to control existing pain, restore normal range of motion in the neck and injured areas, and return you to an active, normal state.