Many clinical, automotive, and epidemiologic studies report frequent delays in patients having symptoms following an automobile collision event.
Although there are many factors as to why symptom onset delay occurs, one major factor is believed to be related to the spreading of posttraumatic edema (1).
Cailliet concluded that it is not unusual for upper extremity pain or paresthesias to become symptomatic or problematic 2 to 4 months after a motor vehicle collision (2).
How long does whiplash last?
Hemorrhagic phase up to one week (3)
Inflammatory phase up to two weeks (3)
Proliferative phase up to seven weeks (3)
Remodeling phase up to 12 months (3).
Carlstedt’s review of the literature concludes that the remodeling stage peeks at 3 to 4 weeks and continues up to about one year (4).
The Québec task force concluded that this (remodeling) process takes about one year
based from their analysis of medical literature (5).
When do injury symptoms reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)?
Patients will experience most of the symptom improvement within 3 to 6 months after injury and then will taper off with a slower, gradual lessening of symptoms until their conditions stabilize at about six months to a year.
Bannister and Gargan concluded from their review of the literature “that the vast majority of patients reach their final state within a year.” (6).
John A. Haywood did his doctorate at Cleveland Chiropractic College, graduated in 1997, and his strong interest in treating injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions. He then graduated with a certification in treating whiplash and mild traumatic brain injuries.
John A. Haywood, D.C.
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