Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the “cracking of
a whip”. Whiplash is commonly caused by rear-end car accidents but can also result from a sports, a fall,
physical abuse, or any other type of trauma resulting in injury. This can include injury to cervical muscles,
intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments and nerve roots.
The head’s jerking action pulls muscles and ligaments beyond their typical range of motion, causing fibers to
tear. Torn fibers in a muscle or tendon is called a strain – in a ligament it is called a sprain. Whiplash usually
involves both. The worst cases may even involve fractured or dislocated bones. Not only is this condition
painful, it can also dramatically reduce your quality of life.
Signs and Symptoms:
•Neck pain and stiffness
•Worsening of pain with neck movement
•Loss of range of motion in the neck
•Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull
•Tenderness or pain in the shoulder, upper back or arms
•Tingling or numbness in the arms
•Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
How Long Does Whiplash Last?
Whiplash can be extremely painful and frustrating. If you are having headaches, neck pain, or tingling in
your arms or hands, you might be wondering how long whiplash will last. In some cases of severe whiplash,
you might feel certain effects for years or even for the rest of your life. There is some good news though;
“typical whiplash symptoms don’t linger beyond three months”, according to the National Institute of
Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Average recovery time is closer to a few days or a few weeks.
How Can Chiropractic Help?
With proper treatment, a chiropractor will be able to control your pain and restore your neck’s range of
motion. This will allow you to get back to living your life without any long-term complications. Keep in
mind, everyone is different. The specific area of your injury and the severity of that injury will play a huge
role in determining the path and success of your recovery. Your age, lifestyle, and overall health will also be
factors in how quickly you will recover from a whiplash injury.
How Can I Improve My Recovery at Home?
Chiropractic care works best when patients are consistent and combine adjustments with safe, at-home
exercises and self-care practices. These include:
While you should rest periodically for the first 24 hours after your injury, it isn’t wise to continue lying
around. Even though it hurts to move, you must do so. Too little activity will result in delayed recovery.
Over-the-Counter Pain Medications
Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and others can control mild to moderate whiplash pain while you’re in recovery.
Heat and Cold
Alternate holding heat then cold to the affected area for 15 minutes six times a day. Both ice and heat are
effective in reducing inflammation and managing pain.
For questions or comments contact:
Dr. Fred Dietzen
Evoke Spinal Care
140 Gregory Lane, Suite 195
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
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