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How Long Does Whiplash Last?

If you have recently been involved in a car accident or slipped and fell, you may be experiencing some serious stiffness and soreness in your neck. This is a condition known as whiplash, and it can be extremely painful, often requiring a checkup from a physician just to make sure you aren’t seriously hurt. Even though you may struggle to move your head without pain for a few days, the good news is that whiplash isn’t permanent and eventually you’ll regain the full motion of your neck, provided nothing more serious has happened. However, if you haven’t seen a physician and you’re dealing with neck injury symptoms for quite some time, you may be experiencing greater problems. Our latest blog discusses how long you can expect whiplash to last and when you should contact a doctor for a closer examination.

What is Whiplash?

In order to better understand what makes a whiplash case serious, it’s important to understand what causes it in the first place. Whiplash is the general term to describe the soreness in your neck you experience after your head is suddenly jolted either forward and then back or from side to side. This sudden motion causes rapid stretching and contracting of the neck muscles in quick succession, which can strain and tear the delicate tendons that run through your neck muscles. This damage manifests itself as soreness until the tendons can repair themselves.

Typical Recovery Period

For minor accidents, such as low-speed fender-benders, whiplash is certainly a possibility, but doesn’t usually leave lasting damage. In these instances, a healthy person with no pre-existing neck problems can expect to be sore for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. It’s not uncommon for the early days of whiplash pain to cause someone to lose some of their capacities—since this is when a condition is at its most painful, many people opt to take a few days off of work if they can. Calling in sick is fairly common, especially because it’s usually really difficult to get out of bed the following morning.

Long-Term Effects

While short-term whiplash can last just a few days, serious accidents can have far more detrimental consequences, including much lengthier recovery periods. A higher-speed accident can result in severe pain and difficulty moving the neck for weeks or even months at a time. In some rare cases or in extremely serious accidents, the symptoms may never fully disappear without extensive medical treatment. Serious accidents can also cause the pain to spread from the neck down to other locations in the body, including the upper and lower back.

It’s also not uncommon for this level of a neck injury to do minor damage to the spinal cord itself, resulting in potentially devastating and possibly some permanent effects. Serious whiplash can also cause severe headaches, sleepless nights, and affected vision, often from a simultaneous concussion, which is caused by the brain colliding with the skull itself.

Some other common symptoms of whiplash can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Travel anxiety
  • Reduced mobility of the neck

Challenges From Your Insurance

While crashes at high-speeds rarely result in insurance companies questioning whether or not you have sustained whiplash, claims filed after low-speed collisions are often scrutinized, as insurers want to make sure they’re not paying for a condition that doesn’t exist. This means you could expect to face some opposition, particularly if your claim was in the range of 5 to about 25 miles per hour in your collision.

Longer-term collisions also should expect to face their fair share of obstacles, as insurance companies also question just how severe the pain really is. If you have been seriously injured, it’s strongly advised you retain a Martin County personal injury lawyer for assistance.

If you’re suffering from the effects of whiplash, contact Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates today at 866-675-4427 to request a free case evaluation.