Delayed Whiplash Injury Symptoms

Car accidents even minor ones can cause musculoskeletal problems, especially in the neck and shoulder area. When whiplash symptoms do not present immediately, this is known as delayed whiplash. Depending on the severity, it can be dangerous. Delayed symptoms can show up anywhere from twenty-four hours to months after the accident. This is because the body is masking the symptoms as a reaction to a traumatic event. Symptoms like:
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Present within 24 hours, but this is not always the case.

Delayed Symptoms

With delayed whiplash, symptoms typically don’t appear until 24 hours after the accident. But there are cases of symptoms being delayed up to six months. Whether immediate or delayed, symptoms include:
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Normal head movement is impaired
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Chronic pain
Medical treatment should be sought out immediately if any of the below symptoms are experienced:
  • Weakness in the arms
  • The neck pain spreads to the shoulders and arms
  • Unbearable pain
  • Loss of vision

Causes of Delayed Whiplash

The most common cause of whiplash is automobile accidents. Even slow-speed tap can cause delayed whiplash symptoms if the head is snaps quickly, and it is not only being hit from behind automobile accidents that cause whiplash. Rear-end, front-end, and side collisions can cause whiplash and delayed whiplash symptoms. Any time the neck snaps in a quick fashion in any direction there is potential for a neck injury. Some less common causes include:
  • Contact sports
  • Amusement park rides
  • Getting hit on the head
  • Specific types of falls where the head quickly snaps around
  • Cycling accidents
  • Skating/skateboarding accidents
  • Skiing/snowboarding accidents

Symptoms Can Get Worse With Time

Determining whether to seek medical attention if there is no pain or symptoms after the event can be difficult. However, symptoms can get worse over time and cause serious problems in the neck like:
  • Small fractures
  • Ruptured discs
  • Pinched nerves

Untreated Whiplash

Whiplash can get worse with time when they are not treated. This is why seeking medical care after the event is extremely important. As a doctor, a chiropractor can diagnose if any serious issues are present and develop the best plan to deal with pain and symptoms. When left untreated chronic whiplash and neck pain can develop. Chronic whiplash is rare but does happen, even with injuries that are considered not severe. Medical professionals will use X-Rays, MRIs, or CT scans to examine the extent of the injury and to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.

Treatment Options

Wearing a neck brace immediately following a neck injury can be an option but there is evidence that some movement of the neck and head should be incorporated, as it is beneficial for the healing process. If the pain is unbearable wearing a brace could be implemented into a treatment plan.

Ice and Heat

  • Ice and heat will help with stiffness and pain.
  • Ice will help relieve pain and should be used in 15-minute intervals.
  • Heat packs and ointments can help soothe the area, loosen up the muscles, and promote optimal healing.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Meds

Advil or Ibuprofen can be taken for pain and inflammation. These meds help the symptoms, but should not be the only pain reliever.


  • Ginger tea can help those suffering from nausea and dizziness.
  • It contains anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Supplements include green tea, turmeric curcumin, fish oil, and sage.

CBD Oil and/or Ointment

CBD oil or ointments can help relieve pain and relax muscles.


Gentle stretches can help the healing process and keep the neck muscles loose.


Chiropractic can treat whiplash utilizing a number of different techniques. They will perform tests to diagnose the extent of the injuries and determine what type and the best treatment plan. The plan can include:

Inflammation reduction and Pain relief

Heat, ice, ultrasound, and laser therapy can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Spinal Adjustments

Spinal adjustments will help relieve pain from pinched nerves, bulging discs, and strained muscles.


Massage is a common practice in whiplash cases. It helps to kickstart the healing process by:
  • Promoting proper blood and nerve energy circulation
  • Loosens the muscles
  • Flushes out the toxins

Stretches and Tips

A chiropractor will train the patient on specific stretches/exercises, along with pain-relief tips to do at home. These can include:

Physical Therapy

  • Physical therapists can help by focusing on the muscles in the affected area.
  • They will teach the individual stretches and exercises to stretch and strengthen the strained muscles.
  • They can also utilize heat and ice therapy, ultrasound, and laser therapy.

Body Composition

Hot Yoga and Metabolic Rate

Both internal and external temperatures influence the body’s metabolic rate. The body’s chemical reactions happen more quickly if the temperature is higher. This is because the body works harder to restore normal temperature balance. Brief exposure to heat is not enough to increase metabolism. To raise BMR, longer exposure to heat is necessary. This is where hot yoga comes in. Hot yoga involves performing a sequence in a studio that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity rate of 40%. It is an intense workout that involves sweating. The high heat:
  • Increases blood flow
  • Warms the muscles for deep stretching
  • Helps the lymphatic system release toxins
  • Raises the body’s Basal Metabolic Rate

Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
Balla, J I. “The late whiplash syndrome.” The Australian and New Zealand journal of surgery vol. 50,6 (1980): 610-4. doi:10.1111/j.1445-2197.1980.tb04207.x Fitz-Ritson D. Phasic exercises for cervical rehabilitation after “whiplash” trauma. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 1995 Jan;18(1):21-24. Seferiadis, Aris et al. “A review of treatment interventions in whiplash-associated disorders.” The European spine journal: official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society vol. 13,5 (2004): 387-97. doi:10.1007/s00586-004-0709-1
Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven Integrative Wellness therapies focused on optimal mobility, posture control, health Instruction, functional fitness, Nutrition, and structural conditioning. In addition, we use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans," Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSHasRx Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor, passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility. So join us and make a living with mobility a way of life. Blessings.

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