How Long Does Whiplash Last?

Car accidents, sports injuries, and falls – these are just a few causes of whiplash.

Whiplash is a condition that affects over 1.5 million Americans. It can cause severe side effects, many of which can last for months and sometimes years. If not treated, its symptoms can end up worsening. 

This post will explore more about this often debilitating condition and how you can naturally treat it.

How Long Does Mild Whiplash Last?

Mild whiplash will linger around for about three months. During this duration, you might notice other symptoms besides neck pain. These include:

  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

In some cases, these will occur immediately or you’ll have delayed symptoms.

How Long Does Severe Whiplash Last?

Severe whiplash occurs when your symptoms last longer than three months. Its side effects might slowly go away or not disappear at all.

Severe whiplash will fall into the whiplash classification of three or four. Unlike mild whiplash, these indicate that there’s a loss of motion, neurological problems, or even a fracture.

How Long Should I Be Off Work For Whiplash?

How long you need to take off work for whiplash depends on how bad your condition is. If you have mild symptoms, you should take about a month off to recover. However, if your condition is extreme, it could take years. For some, they end up having to leave their jobs because the injury prevents them from working.

How Long Does Tinnitus Last After Whiplash?

If you suffer from whiplash you might notice that you develop tinnitus. This condition is due to your neck and head ligaments being jolted to one side – something which can irritate surrounding nerves. This can cause them to create an irritating ringing noise in your ears.

How long tinnitus lasts after whiplash depends on how severe the injury is. Sometimes, it will only occur every so often. On the other hand, it could hang around for several months or years.

Whiplash Recovery Time

For most people, it will take around 4-6 weeks to obtain a full recovery. This period could be longer though if you don’t let it heal properly.

Whiplash Pain After 6 Months – What to Do

Chronic whiplash can be a nuisance. Not only does it prevent you from living normally, but it can send shooting pain throughout your body.

There are a few things you can do though to overcome it. If you have a chronic condition, a visit to a chiropractor or physical therapist might be ideal. While the treatments might be difficult at first, you’ll notice slow yet impressive improvements. If you stay consistent with the sessions, you can reduce and even completely heal your chronic whiplash.

How to Treat Whiplash – 8 Methods to Consider


One of the best things you can do to treat whiplash is to rest. This will give your body time to recover. It will also prevent you from accidentally worsening the problem.

As you rest your body, consider putting ice packs or heating pads on it. These can reduce swelling and pain.

Visit the Chiropractor

If your symptoms are causing you pain or still aren’t going away, a stop to your local chiropractor might be ideal.

Chiropractors specialize in the musculoskeletal system. Because of this, they can inspect your body and tell if anything seems out of place. This way, a chiropractor can effectively treat whiplash. 

During your treatment, they’ll feel around your neck, head, and spine. This will help them tell where ligaments might be pushed beyond their normal range. When they find concerns, they’ll adjust your body to put them back in place.

There are various types of adjustments your chiropractor will use for this purpose. Two of the most common are the flexion-distraction and instrument-assisted.

  • Flexion-Distraction – this adjustment requires your chiropractor to use their hands. They’ll feel around the problem area and then press their hands on it to slide the joint back in place.
  • Instrument-Assisted – for this method, a special tool, like an activator, will be used. The device helps the chiropractor get deeper into the area than their hands can. Besides this, it can assist them with locating problems that might otherwise be hidden.

Your chiropractor will also tell you of things to avoid during your healing time. These include driving and even wearing a neck brace.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Food

One quick home remedy for whiplash pain is to add more anti-inflammatory items to your diet. These selections will calm swelling which can make your condition worse.

There are plenty of options you can consume. These include:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Turmeric
  • Salmon
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • Take Your Vitamins

    Sometimes, your recovery might end up taking longer because your body lacks crucial nutrients. These nutrients are what help your body to create enzymes that repair damaged areas. If you don’t have enough, you won’t heal properly.

Some essential vitamins to take if you suffer from whiplash are:

  • Zinc
  • B-vitamins
  • Magnesium

You can take these in supplement form or work to add food high in them to your diet.

Get a Massage

A massage can also be useful in fighting against whiplash. The soothing motions will encourage a fresh supply of oxygen to the area. This can revive it because new blood will pump into it.

Besides this, the massage will loosen stiffness which can help you move better. Even if the accident occurred years ago, the massage techniques will remove scar tissue. This can give it another chance to heal correctly.

Keep in mind that at first the massage might cause slight irritation. This is because it’s working on damaged sections. Despite this, it shouldn’t be too painful and eventually you’ll feel more relaxed.

Rub CBD Oil On Affected Spots

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is quickly gaining traction for being an excellent natural healer. While there’s no scientific evidence that it will heal whiplash, it can relax your body. The oil contains special properties which absorb into your skin to calm its pain receptors. In addition to this, it can lower inflammation. This can assist other methods you might be using (like chiropractic care) so they get deeper into your body to heal it.

You can use CBD oil cream on your neck and upper back to assist with this. While it might take some time for results to appear, once they do, you’ll be surprised at how well it works.

Consider Acupuncture

Some might be hesitant to use acupuncture because they fear the needles will cause even more pain. The good news is, they won’t. Acupuncture needles are pressed into special trigger points around your body. As they’re inserted, they’ll calm tingling nerves and increase blood circulation. This can flush out toxins and relax inflammation. Thanks to this, it could encourage your body to heal faster.

If you’re still nervous about it, consider the studies done testing this technique. In one, it found that acupuncture could be one of the best ways to naturally treat whiplash.

Remember that while safe, it could cause a few mild symptoms. These include bruising and fatigue. But, these side effects will usually go away within 24 hours.

Do Gentle Stretches

You could also attempt stretches. Be careful that you don’t overdo them though. Overextending your neck can end up making the problem worse.

Some stretches to consider doing include:

  • Chin tucks
  • Side-to-side rotations
  • Neck side bending

Dealing with whiplash can be difficult, especially if you have excruciating symptoms. By keeping this information in mind, you can learn how to both treat and deal with it.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.


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