Whiplash is a neck injury caused by sudden head movement. It is a common injury that can cause pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. In general, mild cases of whiplash will last about one month on average, while moderate cases can last up to six months. Severe cases may last for one year or longer, and the symptoms of whiplash that last the longest are usually migraines and apparently random neck aches.
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. Not getting treatment and not allowing your neck to rest can cause whiplash to last for months or longer. With treatment, many cases of whiplash last for weeks; without treatment, whiplash is more likely to last for years. 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.
You shouldn't try to treat whiplash injuries on your own if the event that caused it also made you faint or lost consciousness. Learn more about what to do if you have a whiplash injury, including exercises for a whiplash injury, in the University of Queensland Self-Help Guide, published by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC). Because whiplash has very few external symptoms (only redness and swelling in some cases), an insurance company is more likely to reject or challenge a whiplash injury claim.In general, most people with mild or moderate cases of whiplash can recover in a few days or a few weeks. Severe cases may take several weeks or even months to heal.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, most people recover completely within 3 months.