The Long-Term Effects of Not Treating Whiplash

The Long-Term Effects of Not Treating Whiplash

After a minor fender bender, your main concern may be your car rather than your health. But during that unexpected car bump, your neck may have forcibly jolted forward and backward, causing muscle strain or soft tissue damage, also known as whiplash.

Symptoms of whiplash may not appear until a few days after your accident, and even then, you may not consider it a serious concern. But not treating your whiplash may have long-term consequences, leading to chronic neck pain or headaches.

At Apple Wellness in Winchester, Virginia, we consider neck injuries like whiplash a serious health concern. Our expert chiropractor, Michael A. Pasternack, DC, wants you to understand the long-term effects of not treating your whiplash. 

About whiplash

Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs from an unexpected, rapid, and forceful back-and-forth movement of your neck.

This sharp and sudden movement can damage any of the components that make up this part of your spine, including your muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or discs. 

Rear-end car accidents are a common cause of whiplash. But you can also develop the neck injury from a high-impact tackle during a game of football or a bad fall. 

Is it whiplash?

Whiplash symptoms vary widely. And the severity of your accident may not accurately predict the severity of your injury or your symptoms. 

Your whiplash symptoms may occur right away or days later. Common symptoms include:

Though you might expect the pain and stiffness with whiplash, the fatigue, anxiety, or difficulty concentrating may throw you off track. 

Whiplash injuries may heal on their own within a few days or a few weeks of at-home care, but it’s not a condition you should treat without a proper evaluation. A prompt examination confirms or rules out serious damage.

Long-term effects of untreated whiplash

Recovery from whiplash varies from person to person, making it hard to predict the potential long-term health effects. 

When left untreated, your whiplash injury may affect the normal structure and function of your neck, leading to chronic neck pain and stiffness, headaches, or pain that radiates into your arms. 

Whiplash may also affect the normal curvature of your neck, placing unnecessary stress on the intervertebral discs (pillow-like cushion between your vertebral bones) and facet joints in your spine. 

This extra stress may accelerate spinal degeneration, leading to other problems like a herniated disc or spinal stenosis.  

Whiplash care

Whether your whiplash symptoms are mild or severe, we can help you feel better and prevent long-term spinal problems. Though treatment for whiplash varies, our goal remains the same: reduce pain and restore range of motion.

For our whiplash patients, we may recommend:

We may also talk to you about ergonomic changes you can make at home and work to ease stress and strain on your neck. Rest may be part of your treatment plan during the early part of your whiplash treatment, but active recovery results in the best outcomes.

The accident may have been minor, but your whiplash injury may not be. Let us help you prevent long-term health problems from your whiplash. Call our office or click the book online button to make an appointment today.

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