Whiplash that results in chronic painful symptoms may be referred to as whiplash-associated disorder (WAD). Patients in both the acute and chronic stages of whiplash often wonder what will be their course of recovery? In other words, will the symptoms go away? And how long will it take?
Studies on whiplash and WAD have found that there are some predictive factors. When present, these factors are linked with delayed recovery. For example, women seem to have a longer recovery period and are more likely to have less complete recovery compared with men.
Overall, children recover the fastest. Recovery is slower for people who have severe symptoms or who seek health care early on. Psychologic factors such as postinjury distress and passive types of coping are also linked with poor recovery.
The speed of recovery after whiplash injuries is not well understood. Differences in attitudes and beliefs may help explain the variation observed. Feelings of helplessness, anxiety, or fear of movement are common in chronic conditions.
Chronic neck pain may have many factors leading to this problem. It often requires a multidisciplinary approach. You may be able to make better progress with psychologic counseling or behavioral therapy than with medical care. If you have not seen a doctor, it might be a good idea to do so. An accurate diagnosis can help guide your treatment and successful recovery.