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The Long-Term Effects of Not Treating Whiplash

When you go through a traumatic physical event like a bad fall or car crash, you may experience whiplash as a result of your head swinging back and then forward with sudden and significant force. Being rear-ended in a car crash is a common cause of whiplash, but sports injuries and even simple accidents can cause whiplash as well.

Symptoms of whiplash might not appear right away, so you might not seek medical attention, thinking your injuries healed and the incident is in your past. But untreated whiplash may negatively impact your health. 

For long-term well-being, you should see a medical professional if you were in a car accident or are having symptoms of whiplash. At Physical Medicine & Wellness of Northern Kentucky, our team has the expertise you can trust to diagnose and treat whiplash, whether the incident that caused the damage took place yesterday or months ago.

Symptoms of whiplash

Whiplash strains the muscles in your neck due to rapid the backward and forward motion. The ligaments and tendons in your neck can stretch and tear, too. Symptoms typically show up within 24 hours of the impact event or accident, but can sometimes take as long as a few days to develop. 

Symptoms of whiplash include:

Whiplash can also negatively affect your sleep and mood, causing irritability and insomnia.

If your symptoms feel like they're spreading to your arms and shoulders or if moving your head becomes painful, seek immediate medical attention. Moderate cases of whiplash can be treated effectively at home using over-the-counter medications and simple therapies, but severe cases can have potentially long-term chronic impacts.

Potential long-term effects of whiplash

Typically, cases of whiplash resolve in a few weeks without serious damage. But left untreated, whiplash can become a source of long-lasting chronic pain problems in your head, neck, and back. Chronic pain or headaches could follow your for years after the original injury. 

You're at increased risk for lasting whiplash damage if you:

People who experience pain spreading into their arms as one of their whiplash symptoms also have an elevated likelihood of chronic pain problems.

If you're concerned about a past or recent whiplash injury, our care team at Physical Medicine & Wellness Center of Northern Kentucky can help by determining the source of your symptoms and putting together a plan for treatment and healing. 

We ask you about your health history, your injury, and the type of symptoms you've experienced. We may recommend an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to check for other issues and confirm your whiplash diagnosis.

To schedule your initial consultation appointment, call our Florence, Kentucky, office today or use the online booking tool.

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