Are There Long Term Impacts of Whiplash?

by | Jun 17, 2021 | Everything You Need to Know About Whiplash | 0 comments

Whiplash is a fairly common injury. When you get in a car accident, your neck can get jerked around in a rapid motion that causes a number of painful symptoms resulting in whiplash. However, many people may not even realize they have whiplash and it can often go untreated. 

Because it can be hard to recognize the full impacts of whiplash or an injury, we encourage you to seek out treatment immediately after sustaining an injury or an accident. Whiplash can be painful and is fairly easy to address with the right types of treatment, and whiplash in and of itself typically has no long term impacts; so that’s the good news. The bad news is that for people who attempt to “walk off” their pain and/or delay medical treatment, there can be quite a few serious long-term impacts to be aware of. 

What kind of long term impacts can I expect?

Those who neglect their body and choose to work through their pain might experience:

  • chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders;
  • upper or lower back pain;
  • severe, chronic headaches;
  • jaw pain;
  • numbness, weakness, or sensory symptoms in the hands, arms, or legs;
  • blurry vision;
  • difficulty sleeping.

Patients who treat their whiplash immediately after an accident can avoid these miserable conditions. No one wants to live with pain and long-term effects of whiplash can be avoided if you seek treatment as soon as possible.

Can I still be treated?

The initial symptom of whiplash after a car accident is usually called “acute pain.” Acute pain is one of the easiest things for our chiropractors to treat. We use an integrative approach that will help patients with acute pain recover after an injury or accident. After the acute pain turns into chronic pain, it becomes much more difficult to treat.

Chronic pain takes a lot longer to recover from and requires more frequent treatments. Our chiropractors here in Utah are committed to not only helping you make a full recovery after a car accident, but to give you what you need to unlock your health and wellbeing, and address chronic pain. Know that treating chronic pain can be a much longer road than the short-term treatment of acute pain. The short answer is yes, we can treat you for the long term symptoms, but it’s going to take more time, and even dedication to live your extraordinary life. 

How long before acute pain turns into chronic pain?

After a car accident, it is not uncommon for the body to go into shock in order to cope with the pain. This means that most victims of a car accident will assume that the pain they feel a couple days after the accident is unrelated or that it is temporary. This leads most people to feel like they can power through the pain simply because it is minor. This is not true! 

It is actually very dangerous to “be tough and get over it” when it comes to whiplash and other types of pain because waiting even a matter of weeks before consulting a chiropractor can turn acute pain into chronic pain. Paraphrased from a study in the National Library of Medicine by James M. Elliot, This is because whiplash can cause a muscle degeneration in your neck that starts as little as a few weeks after your car accident. From there, the muscle fibers are replaced with fat content causing you to develop chronic neck pain. 

Typically, if you experience pain longer than a few weeks, then you are taking yourself down the path of chronic pain.  

Will I have to get surgery if I have whiplash?

Pain medication is known for dulling or masking pain. Our goal with chiropractic care makes excessive amounts of medication unnecessary. Typically if you are being encouraged to get surgery you have more extensive injuries, if you are only suffering from whiplash this will not require surgery. 

If you have herniated discs or other problems related to your neck, you may need surgery, but the only way to clearly know is to visit with a medical professional. Everything in your treatment plan is focused on empowering you to know and make the best medical decisions possible to address your pain. 

Whiplash can cause acute pain, and if not addressed can lead to chronic pain, particularly  depending on when you seek the right kind of treatment. We want you to get the help you need and that’s why we offer an integrative care approach to treating your pain. Chronic whiplash can be hard to live with, so don’t stay stuck there. While it may take longer to treat than acute whiplash pain, we have a comprehensive recovery approach based on what you actually need.

If you are experiencing any pain that may be caused by whiplash or another injury, please contact Axcess Accident Center at 801-701-8222 to schedule your appointment or explore more about whiplash on our website here to learn more about how we can help address your pain. 

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