There are times when this will make you hurt right away, but it can also take hours, days, or weeks before you start to feel pain and other things. This is called whiplash.
However, is there a way to speed up the time if takes for you to recover?
Let's take a look at that below.
What Is Whiplash?
During a car accident, your cervical spine (neck) quickly moves backwards.
Whiplash is caused by sudden stress, like a car collision.
It can happen even if the car in front of you is going slow.
You don't have to be in a high-speed accident to get whiplash.
Whiplash hurts the soft tissues in your neck, causing a lot of pain and making it hard to move.
This can happen right away, or it can take a long time for the symptoms to show up.
If you get good medical care and treatment for whiplash, you should be back to your old self in a few weeks or months, depending on how bad your injury is.
Common Signs Of Whiplash
It is very common for people who get whiplash injuries to have pain in their neck and neck stiffness, as well as a limited range of motion.
Some other symptoms of whiplash can be:
As well, there are also more subtle, less common signs of the disease.
Many people don't know that there are other symptoms that come with your injury.
Whiplash can cause cognitive problems, such as:
Two Factors Impacting Recovery
It also depends on how much pain you are in.
People who have less pain are more likely to get better faster than people who have more.
The more pain you feel, the longer it will take to get better.
Your mood also has a big impact on how quickly you can get better.
You're also more likely to get better faster if you think positive and set realistic goals for yourself.
Positive thinking leads to positive results, and negative thinking leads to negative results.
How Long Does Whiplash Recovery Usually Take?
Most people who have whiplash can get better in one to three weeks if they get the right treatment.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure how long your specific recovery will take.
Days to weeks is how long it takes for minor injuries to heal.
People who have more severe injuries may have symptoms that last for a long time.
Some patients may never fully recover from their neck injury, especially if they don't seek immediate treatment.
It's estimated that around 10 percent to 20 percent of whiplash victims will have significant chronic pain down the road.
As we said before, your mental health and how you feel about pain also play a role in how quickly you can get better.
People who have the following things are most likely to have a bad recovery:
- Higher levels of pain
- Higher levels of disability
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Pain catastrophizing
- Symptoms of depression
- Low expectations of recovery
Age is also something to consider.
Younger people who get into car accidents usually get better faster than people in their 60s or 70s.
People who already have things like back pain, bone spurs, or a previous whiplash injury may also take longer to heal.
Self-Care Helps With Recovery
If you have mild to moderate whiplash symptoms, there are ways you can help yourself while you work with your doctor to get better.
Some ways to help yourself with whiplash:
- Rest: Resting will help you keep your neck from becoming too stiff. The first few days after you get hurt, you should take it easy. If you notice that a certain movement or activity makes your neck hurt, don't do it or limit it.
- Ice and Heat: You can use ice and heat to help with pain and swelling in your neck in the days after you have a whiplash accident. After a few days, ice or heat can be used in different ways.
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications: Tylenol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, Aleve, and Motrin are some of the most common over-the-counter pain relievers. Acetaminophen can block pain receptors, and NSAIDs can cut down on the inflammation. However, over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications like muscle relaxers should only be used for a short time. They aren't good long-term.
Putting on a cervical collar to keep the neck in place after a whiplash injury can make things even worse.
It makes the neck muscles weaker, which makes the cervical spine more difficult to move. Immobilization makes this even worse.
Chiropractic Care Helps Heal Whiplash
In the past, traditional pain medications only made you feel better for a short time, and sometimes self-care wasn't enough.
It is the goal of chiropractic care to put your body in a healthy state so it can heal itself.
A whiplash chiropractor will do a physical exam and check your medical history to be sure that you have a whiplash injury.
They can also order imaging tests, like x-rays or MRIs, if they need to.
After they figure out what's wrong, your chiropractor will come up with a treatment plan that fits your needs.
Unlike other doctors, chiropractors don't prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or muscle relaxants. They don't use any of these things.
Chiropractic medicine looks at the whole person, not just their symptoms.
Pain and injury symptoms can be relieved, and your neck and shoulders can move again. You can also learn how to relax.
People's healing times will vary, but chiropractic medicine can speed up your whiplash and help you avoid or lessen severe pain and long-term symptoms.
Call Arrowhead Clinic
There is no quick way to heal from a whiplash injury. It takes time and patience, and there is no quick fix.
When you work with a chiropractor, you'll get better faster and make sure you don't hurt your neck again while it's healing.
The neck will heal if you rest and exercise, and if you get chiropractic care. Many people can go back to their normal lives in a few weeks.
Arrowhead Clinic has a group of chiropractors who help whiplash victims get better and get back to their normal lives after a car accident.
Each person who goes to Arrowhead Clinic gets a free consultation to have their injury looked at and a treatment plan drawn up.