There are several elements of whiplash injuries that can make them frustrating to both treat and deal with, and a good example here is the timing of their symptoms. Not only can the actual onset of whiplash symptoms often be delayed for many people, the length of time for which these symptoms last can also vary significantly.
At Peterson Chiropractic, we’re happy to offer the best auto accident and whiplash treatment services in Utah, with quality chiropractors who have years of experience treating these injuries. What are some of the factors that impact how long whiplash can last, and what do you need to know about timing with this injury? Here’s a primer.
What is Whiplash?
First and foremost, for those who have never experienced it, it’s important to know exactly what whiplash is. Put simply, this is an injury to the neck that occurs when the head is suddenly and forcefully thrown forward or back, causing the neck muscles and ligaments to be stretched beyond their normal range of motion.
Whiplash can occur in a number of different ways – most commonly in car accidents, but also in things like contact sports, slip and fall accidents, or even physical abuse. The important thing is that the head is moved beyond its normal range of motion, causing damage to the neck muscles and ligaments.
Possible Delayed Pain
As we noted above, the symptoms of whiplash don’t always set in immediately after the initial injury. It’s not uncommon for pain and other symptoms to actually start appearing several hours or even a day or two after the initial accident or injury.
There are a few possible explanations for this delayed reaction. First, it can take some time for the inflammation caused by the stretched or torn muscles and ligaments to build up and cause pain. Second, it’s also possible that the initial adrenaline rush caused by the accident can mask the pain of whiplash, only for it to appear once that adrenaline wears off.
For some people, this masks the true severity of the injury and makes them think they’re not as injured as they actually are – which is why it’s so important to seek medical attention after any kind of accident, even if you don’t feel pain right away.
How Long Does Whiplash Last?
On the flip side of the coin, whiplash can also be frustrating because of the unknown length of symptoms. For some people, the pain and discomfort of whiplash will only last for a few days or weeks, while for others it can linger on for months or even years.
There are a few key factors that play into how long whiplash will last. First, the severity of the initial injury is a big factor – the more damage done to the neck muscles and ligaments, the longer it will likely take to heal. Second, the overall health of the patient is also a factor – generally speaking, people who are in good health will recover from whiplash more quickly than those who are not.
Finally, the way in which the injury is treated can also play a role – and we’ll go over that in part two of our series.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our auto accident or whiplash chiropractic services, speak to the team at Peterson Chiropractic today.