Whiplash Neck Injury: How Long Till I Feel Better?

The Affects of Whiplash Neck InjuryWhiplash Neck Injury

Whiplash neck injury is a common occurrence in our society today. While whiplash is not a diagnostic term, it describes the generalized action that causes damage to various parts of the neck and upper back.

The most common cause of this type of injury is usually a car accident. Typically, someone is struck from behind by another car. This causes a whipping of their head backward and forward. Other causes of whiplash neck injury can include various sports collisions. Such sports as football, soccer, lacrosse and rugby involve a lot of body contact while running at full speed. Colliding with another player, can also cause a whipping motion of the head and injury.

Those who have sustained this type of neck injury can suffer from a myriad of symptoms. Some of the more common include:

  • headaches
  • neck and upper back pain
  • limited neck motion
  • pain or numbness down the arms
  • and many more.

All can range from mild to completely disabling!

Once injured, the common question is “How long will it take to recover?” While a straightforward question, the answer depends on quite a few factors. Obviously, a key factor is the severity of the neck injury. However, other factors that affect the recovery time are: age, overall health, pre-existing degenerative changes, occupation and even the mental health status.

One recent study suggested that those with mild-moderate whiplash injury can experience significant relief within a year. On the down side, there is research that has shown 50% of those experiencing whiplash neck injury can develop chronic problems.

Symptoms that last for over three consecutive months are considered “chronic.” Sadly, those that suffer whiplash neck injuries can have lingering problems for years if not treated correctly.

Correct Treatment Is Crucial

Treatment methods also play a significant role in the recovery time. One study reported that 30% of individuals injured in rear-end impacts suffered from pain TWO YEARS after the crash! Another study at Bristol University, UK revealed, “43% of patients will suffer long-term symptoms following ‘whiplash’ injury, for which no conventional medical treatment has proven to be effective.” Conventional medical treatment here means physical therapy, drugs or surgery.

The good news is that chiropractic care has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for whiplash neck injury. Studies have revealed that those undergoing chiropractic care experienced 74%-94% improvement!

If you have suffered a whiplash neck injury, a chiropractic physician experienced in handling these cases should evaluate you.  Mild injuries typically can recover within 2-3 months of correct care. More severe neck injuries or those with complicating factors such as disc degeneration may require a longer period of care.  A proper grading of your injury and treatment plan are crucial if you are to avoid long-term issues.

Dr. Martin Schmaltz is a1984 graduate, with years of training and experience treating whiplash neck injury. He is located in the Hazelwood, Florissant area of North Saint Louis county. Call today and schedule your appointment: (314) 731-4383.


Asenlöf P, et al. The clinical course over the first year of Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD): pain-related disability predicts outcome in a mildly affected sample. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013;14(1):361. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-14-361.