After any car accident, you’re probably going to be sore in a lot of places. Even if you don’t feel like it at the moment, your body is probably going to let you know how much it hurts later on. Your neck will most likely be one of those areas that ache for quite some time after an auto accident. Depending on the angle of impact and other factors, whiplash is a risk after any collision where your head snaps back quickly.
It is normal to feel stiff and sore anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after the accident. However, if your neck pain lasts for several weeks at a stretch, it might indicate that something more serious is going on. In this article, we will discuss some of the common causes of neck pain after an auto accident and what neck injury or whiplash treatment you can opt for.
How Long Does Neck Soreness Last After a Car Accident?
If you are wondering how long your neck will be sore after a crash, it will first depend on the severity of the accident. More serious accidents that result in whiplash and other neck injuries can create more pain and take longer to go away. Commonly, the soreness and stiffness of your neck will persist for about two weeks after an accident. Severe injuries, however, may take much longer to heal. If the soft tissues in your neck are severely injured, they may take up to 6 months to heal.
These issues should go away within a few weeks. If you don’t start to feel better after two weeks, or if the soreness intensifies, find a doctor to get it checked out.
Why is Your Neck Sore After a Car Accident?
There are several possibilities for the soreness and stiffness in your neck following a car accident including whiplash, a muscle strain or sprain, or a cervical strain. Soreness in your neck could be a result of the seat belt pressing against your neck or a forceful impact. The jolt from the accident could cause minor muscle sprains or strains that cause pain and soreness. The forces that are transmitted to the head can lead to injuries in the neck, upper back, and shoulders.
The symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, headache, dizziness, a reduction in range of motion in the neck, and tingling in the arms. If you experience these symptoms, it is likely that you have suffered from whiplash.
Whiplash & Other Neck Injuries Caused by a Car Accident
After being involved in a traffic accident, there is a good chance that you may have some kind of neck injury. It is important to be aware of the different types of neck injuries that can occur during a car accident and how long each one lasts. Some of the injuries include:
- Cervical Strain – This is a mild injury that will typically heal within a few weeks. A cervical strain is caused by ligaments that are torn or slightly sprained, leading to pain and stiffness in the neck.
- Cervical Sprain – This is a more serious type of injury and is often caused by a sudden jerking of the head, like in a car accident. The result is a tear in the ligaments that support the spinal column.
- Pinched Nerve – After an accident, injured tissues, bones or discs may shift out of place, causing it to hit the surrounding nerves. This causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the affected areas.
- Whiplash – Whiplash is a common type of neck injury that is caused by a sudden jerking of the head. It is usually a result of a car accident, but can also occur during other traumatic events. When whiplash occurs, it can cause a number of neck injuries, including cervical strains and sprains, bruises on the spinal cord, compression fractures to vertebrae, and subdural hematomas.
- Muscle Spasms – When your body is hurt, the muscles protect it by contracting and immobilizing the area. Muscles loosening and tightening rapidly may cause spasms that can affect your shoulders, back, and arms. Because the pain tends to build up, you can feel muscle spasms as part of a delayed neck injury.
Whiplash Treatment & Recovery Options
There are two primary treatment options for whiplash: conservative care and medical treatment. Conservative care includes a combination of resting your injured neck, doing hot or ice treatment, and taking pain medication as prescribed by your doctor. Medical treatment may include epidurals, corticosteroids or surgery depending on the severity of your condition and your doctor’s recommendations.
Non-surgical medical treatment may include:
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is a great way to help the soft tissues in your neck heal more quickly. It can also be helpful if you have a more serious injury that won’t heal on its own.
- Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors can help treat neck pain and headaches by adjusting your spine and restoring balance through manual therapy techniques such as massage, traction, and manipulation.
- Injections: Injections are used to treat and target specific areas of an injury. The most common is epidural steroid injection which works as an anti-inflammatory treatment targeted at nerve roots that are inflamed.
- Strengthening exercises: These can help prevent further injury to the neck area.
Surgery intervention is rarely needed, but it is opted for severe cases such as persistent neck or shoulder pain. This may indicate damage in the spinal cord or nerves, as well as a damaged disc.
What Happens When Whiplash Goes Untreated?
When you are experiencing significant pain in your neck after a car accident or any other type of injury, it is important to get it treated. Neglected neck injury can lead to multiple potential issues. Long-term neck pain may result in headaches, migraines, stiffness, muscle spasms, and difficulty with balance and coordination. You could also experience difficulty with speaking or swallowing, ringing or buzzing noises in the ears, and a change in your vision.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help Whiplash and Other Neck Injuries
Suffering from neck pain after an auto accident may be caused by a misalignment in your spine. Chiropractic adjustments can help to restore the proper alignment of your spine and relieve pressure on your cervical nerves. This can help to reduce pain and improve mobility. In most cases, chiropractic care can be a great option for treating whiplash and other neck injuries. It is also a safer and less invasive treatment option when compared to other treatments like surgery. With proper care, you should be able to reduce your symptoms and recover from your injury much more quickly. If you are experiencing neck pain following a car accident, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Chiropractic Care You Can Trust
If the pain in your neck doesn’t go away after a few weeks, it is important to see a trusted Chiropractic clinic. At Affordable Chiropractic, we are equipped with knowledgeable chiropractic doctors that can set you up for long-term health. We provide the comprehensive care that you need, from neck injury diagnosis to recovery.
Experience natural and effective neck injury treatment with us today.