Facts and Tips about Whiplash

Peer Reviewed
  • The symptoms of whiplash usually take awhile to develop. You may feel pain and other symptoms starting about two hours after the initial injury—or it may take days, weeks, or months before you feel anything.

Woman Putting on Seatbelt

  • Most people with whiplash improve within a couple of weeks.
  • For whiplash caused by car accidents, the severity depends on the force of the impact, the way you were seated in your car, and if you were properly restrained using a shoulder and seat belt.
  • Tests show that the soft tissues in your cervical spine have an injury threshold of 5mph—that is, if you're rear-ended by someone going 5mph or slower, you have a lower chance of getting whiplash.
  • Most rear-end car accidents happen at speeds of 6-12mph.
  • If you've been in a car accident—even if your car didn't get damaged and you don't feel any pain—schedule an appointment with your doctor.
  • Although most cases of whiplash come from car accidents, you can also get whiplash from sport injuries. For example, you can get whiplash snowboarding or boxing. You can also get it while playing football or doing gymnastics.
Updated on: 03/16/16
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Hot and Cold Therapies for Pain and Discomfort
Jason M. Highsmith, MD
This article was reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD.
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Hot and Cold Therapies for Pain and Discomfort

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