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What Happens If You Have Whiplash Untreated?

Untreated Whiplash

If you are able to walk away from an accident, whether it was a slip, fall, car crash, or any other incident, you might think you didn’t get hurt. However, most of the injuries can’t easily be seen with the naked eye. The most common reasons a person might think they are okay is from the fear, rush of adrenaline, and even anger that comes due to the incident which might have hurt you.

If you do not get or refuse medical attention, you may not get to know about internal injuries you got that could lead to great pain.

Untreated Whiplash

If whiplash is left untreated, it can lead to headaches and chronic pain caused by the damaged inner structure of the neck.

A person may not know they have whiplash until symptoms begin to show up hours later. Although this type of whiplash injury can heal with time, untreated whiplash may cause months of suffering and pain. By getting proper treatment, you can increase mobility and strengthen the muscles around the neck.

Untreated whiplash injury can lead to lasting symptoms if you are suffering from a true whiplash injury. The long-term effects of an untreated whiplash injury include:

  • Neck and shoulder stiffness
  • Chronic pain
  • Loss of range of motion in the neck and shoulders
  • Ear ringing
  • Dizzy spells
  • Ear ringing
  • Numbness in your extremities
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Numbness in your extremities
  • The need for surgery

These symptoms may turn into full-blown health problems if not treated properly on time. Each case of whiplash injury is different from others and requires proper care, but the advice to victims is the same–seek professional care.

Chronic Pain

Untreated whiplash leads to an increased risk for soreness and chronic pain, long after the car accident or injury occurs. Stressed or torn neck ligaments and muscles require careful treatment and take the proper time to repair correctly. Over-exerting these ligaments and muscles can make matters worse, causing soreness, chronic pain, and difficulty performing daily movements or tasks.

Mobility Issues

Stiffness and pain from whiplash or a neck injury can pose for loss of mobility that prevents you from performing your common daily tasks or work duties. Swelling and inflammation in the neck, head muscles, and upper back can cause difficulty in moving those sensitive areas or crane or entirely turn the head or neck.

If left untreated, neck pain can further cause secondary conditions such as migraine, headaches, and shoulder pain that may radiate into other parts of the body.


Neck injuries can lead to misalignment in the cervical spine and may result in non-vestibular dizziness. A condition where an individual feels like they are spinning or falling in a still environment, and in most cases, they may also feel dizzy or faint. Vertigo and many other imbalanced sensations will make you feel sick or queasy as well as they can cause you to lose your balance and fall down, causing serious health hazards. Dizziness and vertigo are reported in about 25–50% of noted whiplash cases.


Headaches (including Cervicogenic headaches) are very common after a whiplash injury, in which pain radiates from the neck to the forehead, back, and sides of the head. Chronic headaches, radiating pain, or pricking pain occurring at the base of the skull may flare up suddenly after whiplash or in the days afterward and may become worse if left untreated..

Vertebrae Misalignment

Whiplash often causes the displacement of the uppermost vertebrae in the neck, limiting a person’s range of motion, causing damage to these vertebrae, and even altering normal posture. The vital communication signals from the brain to the body can be negatively impacted or even stopped by vertebrae misalignment.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Untreated whiplash injuries can have serious long-term effects on the body, even causing Degenerative Disc Disease–a pathology that occurs when intervertebral discs deteriorate or break down, leading to weakness, pain, and numbness.

1 Comment

Olivia SmartJuly 8, 2022 at 12:06 pmReply

Thank you for explaining that vertigo and dizziness can happen in twenty-five to fifty percent of people with whiplash. I was recently in a car accident and think I might have whiplash. I wonder if seeing a chiropractor will help with resolving this.

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