Whiplash can occur in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, but it can also take time to develop. It's not uncommon for whiplash symptoms to have a delayed onset. The adrenaline and shock experienced at the time of the car accident can sometimes mask the initial symptoms.
As the body's natural responses to injury kick in, you may begin to notice whiplash-related symptoms hours or even days later. This is why it's crucial to seek prompt medical attention following a car accident, even if you don't immediately feel the effects of whiplash, as early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better outcomes.
The whiplash recovery timeline after a car accident can vary. It depends on how bad the injury is, how soon you get treatment, and how well you stick with the treatment plan. In many cases, whiplash symptoms improve within a few weeks to a few months. However, some individuals may experience lingering symptoms for a more extended period. Here are some general guidelines for the duration of whiplash:
Acute whiplash refers to the symptoms right after a car accident. It usually gets better in a few weeks. During this time, people with whiplash often feel less pain and stiffness.
Symptoms of subacute whiplash last longer than the acute phase. However, they improve within a few months. In many cases, individuals experience significant relief during this period.
Untreated whiplash symptoms can worsen over time. This can lead to chronic whiplash symptoms, which occur when the injury doesn’t heal within the expected time frame. Despite initial treatment, some people continue to experience persistent pain, stiffness, and other whiplash symptoms for a prolonged period of time.