What can I Expect During Whiplash Recovery?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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During whiplash recovery, you will most likely have to wear a cervical collar for a certain period of time. This collar should help you keep your neck still and straight so that you do not injure it further while going about your daily activities. In addition to wearing this collar during whiplash recovery, you might also have to take pain relieving medicines and go through physical therapy. Depending on how severe your whiplash is, you might also need surgery. Chances are good that you will heal from whiplash within six months, but it is important to keep in mind that it could take up to two years to heal depending on the severity of the whiplash.

A cervical collar is a short, thick brace that fastens around your neck. If you have whiplash, your doctor will likely give you one to wear. It is important that you wear it for the length of time your doctor specifies, even though it may be tempting to take it off sooner. Many people find cervical collars uncomfortable, but they are useful for keeping your neck in the proper position the first few days after an injury. Your doctor will probably only ask you to wear this brace for a few weeks, because most experts agree that they are only beneficial for short-term use.


Depending on how severe your whiplash pain is, your doctor will probably either ask that you take over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe pain medicine during your whiplash recovery. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers tend to be the most beneficial for managing whiplash pain, and these are most likely what your doctor will recommend or prescribe. While you are on pain medicine, you might also be undergoing physical therapy. Your physical therapy might include exercise, electrical stimulation, or a combination of both. The length of time your physical therapy lasts will vary depending on how fast you are healing.

There is a chance that whiplash recovery won't come easily and surgery might be needed. Surgery to treat whiplash is incredibly rare, and most people never need it, but when they do it is usually because they have a torn intervertebral disc. If this disc is torn, it might have to be removed. In the event you are experiencing persistent pain from your whiplash that cannot be relieved through physical therapy or pain medicine, you might need to talk to your doctor about surgical options.


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