How Long Does Whiplash Last?

How Long Does Whiplash Last? Whiplash usually last for 2 to 3 months. Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly tuged back and forth. The vast majority of neck pain subsides within several days, and even more so within three months for most people who experience it. However, research shows that up to 50% of people still suffer from chronic neck pain after a year.

How long does whiplash last

What is whiplash?

When a person’s head suddenly and violently moves backwards and forward, they suffer from whiplash. A rear-end collision is the most common cause of this injury.

Physical abuse, sports injuries, and even rides at amusement parks can all cause it. When your neck’s soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) move past their normal range of motion, you get whiplash.

Because your symptoms may not appear for a few days after an accident or other injury event, you must monitor any physical changes during that time. Whiplash is viewed as a relatively minor condition, but it can lead to long-term discomfort and pain.

What Causes whiplash?

The most common cause of whiplash is a sudden and violent backward and forward movement of the head. A variety of tissues in the neck, including the discs between the vertebrae, ligaments, muscles, and nerves, can be damaged when performing this motion.

A whiplash injury may result from:

:small_blue_diamond: Auto accidents

Whiplash is frequently caused by rear-end collisions.

:small_blue_diamond: Physical abuse

Getting punched or shaken can cause whiplash. Shaken baby syndrome can cause this type of injury.

:small_blue_diamond: Contact sports

Whiplash can result from football tackles and other sports-related collisions.


Whiplash occurs when a person’s head is violently tweaked back and forth. Whiplash is most commonly caused by a rear-end collision. Amusement Park rides, as well as physical abuse and sports injuries, can cause it. After an accident or other injury, symptoms may not show up for a few days.


The majority of people who suffer from whiplash recover within a few weeks and appear to have no long-term effects. Even after the injury has healed, some people continue to feel pain for months or even years afterwards.

It is impossible to predict how each whiplash victim will heal. Chronic pain is more likely to develop if your initial symptoms were severe, came on suddenly, and included any or all of the following:

  • Intense discomfort in the neck

  • Restrictions on movement

  • Arm pain

For example, the following factors are linked to a worse outcome:

  • Having previously suffered from whiplash

  • The onset of old age

  • Pain in the lower back or neck is already present

  • A fast-moving accident

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

Within 24 hours of the incident that resulted in the whiplash, symptoms begin to manifest. In some cases, it can take a few days for symptoms to appear. They can last for a few weeks at a stretch.

The following are some of the most common symptoms:

  • pain and stiffness in the neck

  • headaches, particularly in the lower skull region

  • dizziness

  • vision is hazy

  • exhaustion that never lets up

Chronic whiplash can also cause the following fewer common symptoms:

  • inability to focus and retain information

  • hearing a ringing sound (tinnitus)

  • a lack of quality shut-eye

  • irritability

  • neck, shoulder, or head pain that won’t go away

How is whiplash treated?

Anti-inflammatories and/or muscle relaxants may be prescribed by your doctor. The use of heat (rather than cold) can help loosen up tense muscles as well.

As quickly as possible, the goal of treatment is to restore your ability to move your joints. Stretching, rotation, and back-and-forth movements of the neck are all part of our early physical therapy regimen. A soft neck collar is rarely recommended because we prefer to keep the joints and muscles moving rather than immobilising them.

The pain can be alleviated by doing exercises at home. Get in a few minutes of exercise three to four times per day:

  • You should gradually rotate your neck to the right and to the left, but not so far as to cause pain.

  • As if you were holding your phone between your ear and shoulder, tilt your head to the side.

  • Backward and forward movements of the neck are recommended.

  • Make circular motions with your shoulders.

  • Seeing your doctor for an evaluation is a good idea if three months have passed and you’re still in a lot of pain. If necessary, he or she may recommend additional treatment.

How long does it take to recover from whiplash?

Whiplash injuries typically last between two and three months, according to the NHS. Symptoms can last for more than a year in the worst cases because of the wide range in severity of the injuries.

Minor Whiplash

If you’ve been in a minor car accident and suffered whiplash, your neck and upper back may hurt for a few days.

Painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen are commonly used to treat this. Within two to three weeks, symptoms should begin to subside.

Although many people believe that wearing a neck brace will help them heal faster, the best way to speed up your recovery is to keep your head and neck as mobile as possible.

Chronic Whiplash

To describe whiplash symptoms lasting more than six months, the term chronic whiplash is used.

More serious accidents that resulted in severe head, neck, and upper-body injuries are more likely to have caused chronic whiplash victims. Physiotherapy and stronger painkillers like codeine may be prescribed by your doctor to speed up the healing process.

The victim’s mental health may also be affected by the long-term effects. When dealing with chronic pain and lifestyle changes, it may be necessary to seek psychological help.

This may not be possible in every situation. Physiotherapy or rehabilitation may be necessary for a long period of time.


A typical whiplash injury lasts between two and three months, depending on the severity of the injury. In the worst cases, symptoms can last more than a year. Keeping your head and neck as mobile as possible is the best way to speed up your recovery. Rehabilitation or physiotherapy could take a long time.

How to make a claim for whiplash?

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and suffered whiplash as a result, you may be able to sue for damages. True Solicitors may be able to assist you with your personal injury claim if your whiplash injuries are the result of a car accident, a slip, trip, or fall, an accident at work.

Our whiplash injury lawyers have helped tens of thousands of people each year by obtaining fair compensation on their behalf. You can count on us to fight for your rights to fair compensation, justice, and a fresh start. On a “No Win, No Fee” basis, we will handle your claim.

The rules for claiming compensation for a whiplash injury have changed as of May 31st, 2021. People who have suffered a soft tissue injury to their neck, back, or shoulder in an accident on the road can now seek compensation under the Civil Liability Act 2018 – better known as the “whiplash reforms.”

According to a claimant’s recovery time from their whiplash injury, a new fixed tariff of compensation has been introduced.

When to contact a doctor

Using over-the-counter pain medication, ice, and other home remedies, most mild to moderate cases of whiplash can be treated at home.

If you’ve been injured in an accident or have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor right away:

  • back and forth between neck pain and stiffness

  • neck pain that won’t go away

  • shoulder, arm, or leg pain, tingling, or numbness

  • any problems with the bowels or bladder

  • an arm or leg that is weak in a specific area

How is whiplash diagnosed?

What questions will your doctor ask you about your injury?

  • how it happened

  • where you feel pain

  • whether the pain is dull, shooting, or sharp

  • Your range of motion and any tenderness in your joints may be examined physically as well.

The soft tissues, spinal cord, and nerves may be examined using imaging tests that your doctor may order. They’re also capable of spotting signs of a head injury. You could have the following x-rays:

  • Radiographs (to rule out more serious conditions like arthritis or other forms of degenerative injury)

  • A computed tomography (CT) scan

  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

In rare cases, a doctor will order a DTI or a PET scan to help find and measure the extent of a brain injury or other areas of damage.

How long will a whiplash claim take?

There are a number of variables that affect how quickly a whiplash claim is resolved, including:

  • Insurers agreeing to cover the costs of the claim.

  • The likelihood of a positive medical outcome and the timeframe for a full recovery.

  • The severity of the whiplash.

Your lawyer will be able to give you an estimate of how long your case will take based on the specifics of your situation.

Self-Care for Whiplash

Self-care options for whiplash victims with mild to moderate symptoms include:


Keep moving if you can, but ease into things the first few days if you can’t. It’s best to avoid or limit certain movements until your neck has had more time to heal, if they aggravate your pain.

Ice and/or heat

Applying ice to the neck for the first few days after a whiplash injury can help alleviate pain and swelling. Using ice or cold packs for a short period of time can help to close small blood vessels and prevent swelling from getting worse. One can alternately apply ice and heat to the injured area for several days after the incident.

OTC medications

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil, Aleve, and Motrin, are common over-the-counter pain relievers. NSAIDs and acetaminophen both work by blocking pain receptors. Despite the fact that OTC products are readily available, it is important to read and follow the label’s instructions.

In the past, some doctors advised whiplash victims to wear a cervical collar to immobilise the neck at the beginning, but this advice often made the problem worse. Immobilization led to the weakening of the neck muscles, which in turn made the cervical spine more vulnerable.

In Short

Options for whiplash victims with mild to moderate symptoms to self-treat. For several days, one can alternately apply ice and heat to the injured area. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications should be read and followed according to the directions on the label.

How Does Whiplash Occur?

Whiplash injury is most common in car accidents and can occur regardless of the speed of the collision.

Sudden neck movement, like a whip crack, can cause severe pain and damage to tendons and ligaments. This can lead to a variety of other symptoms besides a sore neck.

In a car accident, whiplash is caused by the force of an impact being concentrated in the neck and head while the rest of your body is restrained by a seatbelt.

At the time of the collision, injuries can be worse if your head is turned, or if you are not expecting it.

Though insurance companies can deny claims involving injuries sustained in crashes with speeds under 5 mph, scientific studies show that whiplash injuries can occur even at such slow speeds.

Individual circumstances, such as impact direction and seat position, are almost always to blame. In addition, the severity of the injury depends on the size of the driver or passenger. Two to four times as much linear acceleration will be felt by a smaller female in a collision with a larger male. “The male, on the other hand, will bend backwards more.”

Whiplash isn’t just a result of car accidents; any sudden movement of the head and neck can cause whiplash, but it’s the most common road traffic accident-related injury.

Neck Strain and Whiplash

Whiplash is a common name for neck strain. Neck strain can be caused by any impact that causes your head to tug forward or backward, but it is most commonly associated with car accidents. Your neck muscles and tendons are strained and torn as a result of the impact.

Neck pain is a common injury among athletes of all levels and professional. Football players, for example, are at an increased risk of developing a neck injury.

Neck strains and neck sprains are often confused. They’re unique in that respect. Muscle or tendon damage results in a strained neck. Tendons connect muscles to bones. Ligaments, the tissues that link bones together, are torn in a neck sprain.

As a result, it is unlikely that you will care much about the differences between strain and sprain. Neck sprains and neck strains share many of the same symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

When Will My Whiplash Feel Better?

Depending on the severity of your whiplash, your recovery time will vary. Within a few days, most cases are resolved. If you have a severe neck strain, it could take weeks or even months to recover. Keep in mind that everyone’s healing process is unique.

Your doctor will most likely recommend that you begin neck strain rehabilitation after the acute symptoms have subsided. This will strengthen and elongate your neck muscles. You’ll feel better and be less likely to injure your neck in the future if you do this.

You can begin with light stretching exercises and gradually increase the intensity as your condition improves. Don’t start working out, however, without first consulting your physician.

Take your time and avoid rushing anything. Contact sports players must take extra precautions to ensure they are fully recovered before returning. When you’re ready, your doctor will give you the all-clear to resume your normal activities. Never try to get back into shape until you are able to do so safely.

  • Examine both shoulders for any signs of discomfort or stiffness.

  • Without pain or stiffness, you can rock your head forward and backward without difficulty.

  • Without pain or stiffness, rock your head from side to side.

  • The risk of chronic neck pain and permanent injury if you push yourself before your neck strain has healed is high.

How Can I Prevent Whiplash?

Of course, there is nothing you can do to avoid whiplash in the event of an accident. It is possible, however, to increase your chances:

  • If you’ve had neck strain in the past, do strengthening exercises to keep your neck muscles strong and limber.

  • Office workers, in particular, should take frequent breaks to stretch and exercise their necks because they spend the majority of their workdays in this position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some frequently asked questions related to how long does whiplash last.

1. What causes whiplash?

Because of this, many people believe that car accidents are to blame for their whiplash. A sports injury, physical abuse (such as being violently shaken by the shoulders) or being punched can also result in this condition. A nod of the head, or flexion and extension of the neck, can be caused by any of these.

Swelling and pain in the neck can be caused by the rupture of a small vessel after an accident.

2. What are the signs of whiplash?

It is possible to experience symptoms of whiplash immediately following an accident, or they may not appear for several days. Whiplash is frequently accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Pain

  • Spasms of the muscles are to be expected

  • A reduced ability to move

  • Headache

  • Neck stiffness

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Disturbance of memory

3. How do you know whether you have whiplash?

A physical examination will be the first step in your evaluation. If a doctor suspects whiplash, he or she may order an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray, depending on the results. However, for the vast majority of people, the injury occurs in structures that are too small to be seen in these diagnostics. Even if you’re in pain, this is true. As a result, the most reliable way to determine if you’ve suffered from whiplash is to look at your symptoms.

4. Are some people more likely to get whiplash?

Yes. Whiplash is more common in some people than in others following an accident. Research has identified the following risk factors:

  • Getting rear-ended by another vehicle.

  • This is what it means to be womanly.

  • Having a more impressionable mind.

  • Having had neck pain in the past.

  • Being hit by another vehicle while yours is in motion.

  • Being found not at fault for the mishap.

Having a job that requires a lot of repetitive motion, your muscles were likely already tense before the accident.

5. Will whiplash go away by itself?

The good news is that whiplash will heal on its own if given enough time. You should do the following to aid in your recovery: After a neck injury, apply ice to the area to reduce pain and swelling as quickly as you can. For the next two days, do 15 minutes of it every three to four hours.

6. How do you know if whiplash is serious?

We can tell if someone has whiplash if they have neck pain or stiffness that goes away and then returns. severe pain in the neck A tingling sensation, numbness, or pain in your upper body.

The following situations necessitate immediate medical attention:

  • symptoms spread to the shoulders or arms.

  • Your head hurts when you try to move it.

  • In your arms, you feel numbness or a lack of strength.

7. What is the best treatment for whiplash?

You can feel better by applying heat or cold to your neck for 15 minutes every three hours or so. Pain relievers available over-the-counter. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) are common over-the-counter pain relievers that work well for mild to moderate whiplash pain.

8. Does whiplash show up on xrays?

Additionally, tests for whiplash may include the following: a complete medical history and physical exam soft tissue damage is common in whiplash injuries that cannot be seen on X-rays: X-ray.

9. What happens if whiplash goes untreated?

Similarly, whiplash is not unique. Left untreated, this injury can have serious consequences, including stiffness and loss of range of motion. Untreated whiplash can cause degenerative disc disease and vertebral misalignment in addition to chronic neck pain and stiffness.

10. What does a doctor do for whiplash?

You can alleviate pain and promote healing by wearing a neck collar that is soft and supportive. Improve your neck’s ability to move freely and heal yourself with physical therapy and range-of-motion exercises In more severe cases, your doctor may also prescribe muscle relaxants.


Whiplash rarely causes long-term health issues. Recuperation can take a few days or a few weeks in most cases. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, most people fully recover within three months of their stroke.

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