What Can Happen If Whiplash Goes Untreated?

Whiplash is one of the most common types of car accident-related injuries. This can result from rear-end collisions or high-speed crashes that consist of sudden acceleration or deceleration. It can also have long-term health consequences, especially if afflicted individuals do not receive timely medical treatment.

What Is Whiplash?

Whiplash is a type of neck strain resulting from sudden, violent force to the nerves in the cervical spine that support neck, hand, shoulder and arm movement. In a typical auto accident scenario, one car strikes another in the rear, causing the head of an occupant in the front vehicle to jerk forward, then immediately backward.

How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?

Whiplash injuries can exhibit multiple symptoms, which typically occur within 24 hours of the accident. Individuals may experience pain or stiffness, particularly when attempting to move their neck in any direction. Some people have headaches, dizziness or fatigue.

When you’re seen by a medical professional, your entire spine will be evaluated to ensure the only injury is in the neck. They will look for any areas that display poor range of motion, muscle spasm, general weakness and pain. In the acute phase, you probably won’t be able to turn your head comfortably and your head may hurt. Your provider will also feel around your neck and back, looking for tender spots and tightness.

As with any injury involving the neck or spine, first responders and medical professionals approach potential whiplash situations cautiously until they can diagnose and confirm the condition and stabilize the individual.

Long-Term Effects of Whiplash

Whiplash is a potentially serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. The long-term effects of untreated whiplash can include:

  • Head/brain trauma: The impact of whiplash can cause the brain to bang into the side of the skull and cause a concussion and related symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision and light or noise sensitivity.
  • Compromised neck mobility: Untreated whiplash symptoms can cause scarring and inflammation in the neck muscles and soft tissue. Afflicted individuals may eventually lose muscle strength and experience limited mobility due to atrophy.
  • Equilibrium issues: Whiplash trauma can compress the nerves in the neck, leading to dizziness and a loss of balance.
  • Chronic pain: People with long-term whiplash can experience persistent neck pain that radiates through the shoulders and arms.
  • Lingering headaches: Whiplash sufferers can have intermittent head pain that comes and goes over many years, especially if an untreated concussion is also a factor.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Whiplash

When whiplash is still in the acute stage, a chiropractor may use gentle stretching, ultrasound and other techniques in an effort to reduce inflammation. You might also be advised to apply ice in order to reduce the swelling. After the initial swelling has subsided and the pain lessens, the treatment will turn to spinal manipulation to restore the normal blood flow and motion to your neck.

Many people find that chiropractic care significantly reduces the long-term effects of whiplash and improves their quality of life after an accident. The benefits of this treatment include:

  • Pain and stiffness reduction: Spinal manipulation and other treatment methods implemented by chiropractors can increase comfort by alleviating pain and stiffness.
  • Faster healing: Many accident victims experience a quicker recovery after receiving chiropractic treatment.
  • Improved mobility: The treatment can enhance flexibility and increase the range of motion in the neck and shoulders.
  • Alternative to surgery: Chiropractic care does not involve prescription medications or surgical procedures. People don’t need to worry about invasive treatments or uncomfortable or dangerous drug side effects.

Get Whiplash Treatment With Complete Care

Complete Care offers comprehensive treatment to help individuals recover from whiplash and other accident-related injuries. We have 35 convenient locations in Florida to serve you. Contact us for more information or schedule an appointment today at (844) 699-2273.


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