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How Long Does Whiplash Last After a Car Accident?

If your head snapped backward or forward during an auto accident, you likely have whiplash. The fast jerking motion can damage ligaments, muscles, nerves, or discs in your neck. It’s also possible for a small vessel in your neck to tear, creating inflammation. You might have noticed your symptoms immediately following the car accident injury, or they could have appeared hours later. Now, though, you are suffering from whiplash and want to know how long it will last.

Get the details.

How Long Do Whiplash Symptoms Last?

If you have whiplash, the symptoms might go away after a few days, as they do for most people. However, if your neck took a serious jolt, it might take three months to be free of the symptoms finally.

Unfortunately, some people have lingering pain after whiplash. This pain can last for a year or longer. You’re more likely to experience lingering effects of whiplash if you meet certain criteria.

First, if your pain is severe immediately following the auto accident, the pain is more likely to stick around for a year or longer. Also, if memory loss or other neurological symptoms accompany your whiplash, it’s more likely to remain for a year or longer. Finally, if your pain also shoots into your fingers or arms, you can expect the symptoms to last longer than a few months.

Recovering From Whiplash

Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer from symptoms of whiplash.  You can undergo treatment to speed up the healing process. Then you are less likely to have symptoms that last months or longer. That means you’ll get to resume your normal activities much sooner.

Loosening tight muscles is important when treating whiplash. The tight muscles reduce your range of motion and also cause pain. Your doctor might prescribe muscle relaxers and instruct you to take anti-inflammatories and apply heat at home. You’ll likely be instructed to avoid ice since that can tighten the muscles even more.

Your car accident doctor will also likely send you to physical therapy. Your physical therapist will use exercises to increase your range of motion while reducing pain. Along with doing the exercises at the office, the therapist will ask you to do some exercises at home. You’ll need to do them several times a week to get the optimal results.

While you might feel a bit sore when you first begin these exercises, you’ll notice your range of motion increases, and pain decreases over time. The exercises will become easier to do, and you’ll feel a bit better each day.

Get Help for Whiplash

If you have whiplash, you might think the symptoms will go away on their own, so you just treat yourself at home. Heat and rest might alleviate your symptoms if your condition is minor, but most people respond well to whiplash treatment. Treatment can reduce the severity of your symptoms and help your neck heal faster. Visit a Brooklyn car accident doctor for evaluation and treatment. Then you can finally put those painful symptoms in the rearview mirror.