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How Long Does Whiplash Last?

Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, or confusion—none of these sound like a good time. So, if you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may wonder how long these symptoms will last. The good news is that with a proper evaluation and early treatment, you have a high likelihood of getting well within a matter of weeks.

One of the most common injuries associated with whiplash is ligament tearing. Ligaments are short, tough bands of connective tissue that hold together the bones in your neck and the joints of your body. If these ligaments are torn, it can cause neck pain. The average time it takes a ligament to heal is about six weeks with the proper care and treatment. If you notice symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or memory issues, you may have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). A majority of people with a mild TBI recover within three months.

Whiplash injuries frequently cause tearing of the ligaments that support proper spinal motion and stability. The acute inflammatory phase of injury lasts up to 72 hours, the repair phase takes up to 6 weeks, and the remodeling phase of healing can last up to a year. A non-healed ligament injury can result in osteoarthritis.

After an accident, the most important step you can take is to receive a full evaluation. Only after a complete evaluation will you know what type of injuries you’ve sustained and, most importantly- how to get well. Do not hesitate to call iCare Chiropractic to get your evaluation! You would be surprised how many people shrug off a “small” accident and push their symptoms aside. While that may save you a little time today, it’s likely to result in much more pain down the road.

Science Source

The Effectiveness of Conservative Management for Acute Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) II: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials.PLoS One. 2015

Biomechanics of whiplash injury. Chinese Journal of Traumatology. 2009

Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics. The Open Rehabilitation Journal. 2013

The association between exposure to a rear-end collision and future neck or shoulder pain: a cohort study. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2000

Subacromial impingement in patients with whiplash injury to the cervical spine. Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research. 2008

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