The prognosis (outlook) for recovery from whiplash depends on the severity of the injury.
Minor whiplash injuries usually resolve within 1-2 weeks.
Moderate whiplash injuries with muscle spasm or ligament strains may take up to 4-8 weeks to resolve.
Severe whiplash injuries, or those that involve nerve damage or ligament or disc injury to the spine, may result in chronic or permanent disability. These injuries may require future surgical intervention.
Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
KnowYourBack.org. Whiplash and Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAS).
Hoffman JR, Wolfson AB, Todd K, Mower WR. Selective cervical spine radiography in blunt trauma: methodology of the National Emergency X-Radiography Utilization Study (NEXUS). Ann Emerg Med. 1998 Oct;32(4):461-9. PubMed PMID: 9774931.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014
Must Read Articles Related to Whiplash
Muscle strain or muscle pull or even a muscle tear implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. Symptoms and signs include swelling, bruising, pain, and...learn more >>
The portion of the spine contained within the neck is referred to as the cervical spine. That's the site for injuries known as neck strain. Symptoms include pai...learn more >>
Wilderness: Neck and Back Injuries
Trauma to the neck and back can lead to spinal cord injury and permanent disability. If trauma occurs, the neck and back should be splinted and movement should ...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Whiplash: