Understanding Why Post-Accident Whiplash Symptoms Are Often Delayed

whiplash

You’ve been involved in a minor fender-bender, and everything seems fine. A day or two later, however, you begin to notice pain between your shoulders, you’re having trouble sleeping, and you feel dizzy. Believe it or not, there’s a good chance that you have whiplash.

Whiplash happens when your head is jerked forward or backward abruptly, as often happens during auto accidents, the most common scenario for whiplash to occur. You can also get whiplash, which is also sometimes called neck strain or neck sprain, in other ways, such as playing sports or during a fall.

Why whiplash hurts

When your head is jerked forward and backward, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments may be stretched beyond their range. You may even have damage to the cervical vertebrae — the vertebrae in your neck — or to the discs between those vertebrae.

Just as when you sprain your ankle, a neck sprain can be very painful and may take weeks to heal.

Common whiplash symptoms

Not everyone experiences whiplash in the same way. You may have some symptoms, but not others. Common symptoms include:

Less common symptoms include:

The whiplash timeline

Unlike some other injuries, whiplash doesn’t always follow a predictable timeline. It may take a few days or weeks for you to heal, and in some rarer cases, symptoms can linger for months or even years.

It’s also not unusual for your symptoms to be delayed by 24 hours or even longer. It could be a few days following your injury before you begin to notice symptoms.

The potential reasons for the delay vary. You may not notice your symptoms immediately because an accident can cause your body to produce extra adrenaline — which acts as a pain reliever. The effects of adrenaline can last for quite some time, especially if you have to deal with things like police reports and insurance claims immediately after your accident.

The delay can also occur if your body needs a little while to assess the damage and begin the healing process. Part of healing is often inflammation, and inflammation triggers pain. If your injury isn’t inflamed, it probably doesn’t hurt yet.

Similarly, even with proper treatment, the length of time it takes to recover from whiplash varies from person to person. Your doctor at Premier Chiropractic does a thorough assessment and suggests a treatment plan designed to address your specific injury.

A personalized course of treatment is the most effective way to recover in the safest and most efficient way. If you’d like to learn more about our whiplash treatment, book an appointment online or by phone today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Here's When a Headache is Serious

Headaches are common, and chances are high that you’ve had one at some point. But at what point do headaches become serious? Learn more about the signs that your headaches are serious and what to do about them.

Warning Signs Your Neck Pain is Actually Whiplash

Whiplash is a common injury, but it’s not the only cause of neck pain. So how do you know if your neck pain is actually whiplash? Read on to explore four signs that you might be dealing with whiplash 一 and what we can do to help.

The Link Between Nutrition and Sports Performance

Good nutrition is key to having a healthy mind and body, and it’s also essential for performing well in athletic activities. Read on to explore this link and how nutritional coaching can help you maximize your sports performance.

Health Benefits of Regular Stretching

You stretch before you exercise, and you stretch during your physical therapy sessions. But beyond that, do you stretch for the sake of stretching? Read on to learn about the health benefits of routine stretching throughout the week.

Can a Chiropractor Help Your Headaches?

There are many types of headaches, numerous triggers, and plenty of at-home treatments; but have you ever considered how chiropractic care could help your headaches? In this blog, we explore this question in greater detail.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Chronic Neck Pain

You might be tempted to take an over-the-counter pain relief medication and power through neck pain, but you should ignore it? In this blog, we share four reasons you shouldn’t ignore neck pain and how you might find relief again.