Whiplash pain typically begins to resolve a few days after the accident, with significant pain relief within a few months.
However, some cases result in long-term and even chronic pain. The severity of the whiplash injury, as well as contributing factors in your own life, can increase your risk of longer-lasting whiplash.
What Is Whiplash?
Whiplash occurs when something forces your head to snap back and forth suddenly, such as being rear-ended in a car collision. The University of Rochester Medical Center admits that it is a “poorly understood” injury but can involve damage to:
Exactly which part of your neck was strained, sprained, or damaged by your accident can impact how long your whiplash injury takes to heal. Disk and nerve injuries are notoriously painful, while soft tissue can be stretched or torn with enough force.
A Snapshot of the Recovery Process
Mayo Clinic estimates that a few weeks is the norm for recovery, but each case can be different. Symptoms can range widely, and the ones you experience can impact your life in specific ways:
- Neck pain
- Lost range of motion
- Shoulder, back, or arm pain
- Arm tingling or numbness
- Sensory issues
- Sleep difficulty
- Concentration and memory problems
- Mood disturbances
One person may experience pain and stiffness for a few days that can be treated with pain medication. By contrast, someone else may struggle with those symptoms as well as sleepless nights, depression, and ringing in their ears, disrupting their life more significantly. What you experience may indicate how long the whiplash injury lasts.
Although even painful and disruptive cases usually resolve in a few months, Cleveland Clinic reports that anywhere from 12 to 50 percent of people continue to experience pain for over a year. Among the risk factors for this kind of persistent pain are:
- Severe pain that sets in quickly
- Neurological symptoms
- Shooting pain that extends down your arms
- Significantly restricted range of motion
- Previous whiplash injury, back, or neck pain
Additionally, Cleveland Clinic mentions that high anxiety after the injury can contribute to chronic pain. Anyone who has experienced a car collision or other sudden accident knows that anxiety is a given when dealing with insurance companies and determining fault.
Why You Should Seek Medical Attention After Accidents
Whiplash’s idiosyncrasies aren’t limited to symptoms. The injury is infamous for its delayed onset, with pain and stiffness sometimes taking 48 hours after an accident to manifest. You may walk away from a rear-end collision or other accident assuming you are fine, only to be wracked with pain the next day.
Getting prompt medical aid can help you and your doctors get on top of the injury and the pain before it overwhelms you. Even minor car crashes can cause damage. For instance, a Florida Atlantic University (FAU) study found that even low-speed rear-end crashes can cause whiplash injuries.
Plus, seeing a doctor creates a record, and records are crucial for pursuing compensation in the future. By seeking medical attention, you help create evidence that the injury exists. This documentation is especially crucial since some whiplash injuries are not visible on imaging tests. That way, we have automatic ammunition to fight against:
- Low settlement offers
- Undervaluation of your case
- Denials of treatment or compensation
How long your whiplash lasts can also be used as crucial evidence of the severity of your injury. If you continue to suffer from symptoms, talk to your doctor to ensure your whiplash remains documented.
Whiplash Isn’t Just a Car Accident Injury
You may not think to classify your neck injury as whiplash if it didn’t occur from being rear-ended. However, the snapping motion of whiplash can happen in other accident scenarios:
- ATV and motorcycle crashes
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Sports accidents
- Dog attacks
All it takes is a sudden jolt that causes your head to move violently and involuntarily. Slipping on a puddle, being struck while riding your bike, or having a dog knock you down can all injure the soft tissue in your neck. Seek help for any neck pain or stiffness after these accidents.
Moreover, any of these scenarios could also be grounds for an insurance claim or lawsuit to help pay for expenses related to your recovery. We encourage you to talk to our firm if your injury was caused by negligence – a careless action that could have been avoided and that caused the injury is the grounds for taking legal action.
See a Doctor and Then Call Kaine Law for a Free Consultation
Regardless of how long your whiplash lasts, you can seek help from the team at Kaine Law at any time if your neck injury was caused by someone’s negligence.
Call our office today at (404) 214-2001 to receive a free consultation. Even if your accident was minor, your pain could entitle you to damages. Call now.