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How Long Does Whiplash Last?

Week 2

Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, and confusion — none of these sound like a good time...

And if you've been involved in a car accident, you may be wondering how long these symptoms are going to last. There’s good news! With a proper evaluation and early treatment, there’s a high likelihood of getting well within a matter of weeks.

Why it Matters:

One of the most common injuries associated with whiplash is ligament tearing.

Ligaments are the short, tough bands of connective tissue that hold together the bones in your neck and 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 6 weeks with the proper care and treatment.

The acute inflammatory phase of injury last up to 72 hours.

The repair phase takes up to 6 weeks.

The final (remodeling) phase of healing can last up to 1 year.

A non-healed ligament injury can result in osteoarthritis.

(We should also note, if you notice symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or impaired memory, you may have suffered a mild brain injury. A majority of people with these injuries recover within 3 months.)

Next Steps:

After an accident, the most important step you can take is to receive a full evaluation.

Only after a complete evaluation will you be able to know what type of injuries you've sustained, and most importantly, how to get well. It’s surprising how many people shrug off a "small" accident and push their symptoms aside.

While that may save a little time today, it's likely to result in much more pain down the road – so don’t wait. Make a mental note right now to call your favorite trusted chiropractor as soon as possible if you or someone you know experiences an accident.

Science Source(s):

Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics. ORJ. 2013.

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