The length of time it takes to recover from whiplash depends not just on the individual, but also on the details of the accident, such as the speed on which the vehicle was moving. Most whiplash injuries have the capacity to fully recover within about six months. However, about one-third of people who have suffered this injury report neck pain ten years later, and some continued to experience different symptoms for the rest of their lives.
Usually, the pain one feels within the first few weeks after the whiplash injury indicates whether or not he or she could be able to achieve a full recovery. The patients who report severe pain tend to have less chance of recovering fully. In many cases where victims have preexisting conditions, such as chronic headaches, neck pain, or arthritis in the neck, the recovery will take longer, and there is a chance of long-term effects.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Whiplash?
Whiplash is often overlooked as a minor/less severe injury. However, a study conducted on whiplash recovery time showed that 71% of people still face some symptoms even more than seven years after sustaining their injury. Research also suggested that after 18 – 24 months, typically, all patients with moderate injury will be functionally recovered, although some report recovery may take up to five years.
Recovery Time For Mild Whiplash
Victims of whiplash from a minor accident may experience only a few days of upper back and neck pain. Milder cases of this injury are treated with anti-inflammatory pills or paracetamol, and symptoms usually disappear within a few weeks. It is advised to keep the neck and head mobile rather than using a brace, as this can help the healing process.
Recovery Time For Chronic Whiplash
For those patients who were involved in a more serious car accident, there can be severe pain as well as difficulty moving the head and neck, and full symptoms may appear within days after the impact. Severe whiplash injuries may last for months, and sometimes, the symptoms may never fully recover. The stiffness and pain in the neck can be accompanied by severe headaches, lower and upper back pain, affected vision, and sleepless nights among other symptoms.
Recovery time depends on the treatment you chose for your injuries. Long term rehabilitation and physiotherapy may be required.
Long Term Whiplash Symptoms
If whiplash injury lasts longer than six months, it is generally referred to as chronic whiplash. It requires treatment with physiotherapy and prescribed painkillers. Mild cases of whiplash are treated with basic anti-inflammatory pills or paracetamol.
Regardless of your injury is mild or severe, doctors recommend to keep your neck and head mobile as it helps facilitate a speedier recovery process.
If you suffered a whiplash injury, you must schedule a visit with your doctor. There is no proper way to confirm whiplash symptoms, but with x-rays or scans, your physician can make a medical record of your treatment and symptoms, which is needed if you decide to file a claim for your whiplash injury.