Modified and translated by CFJA
We believe you may find it challenging to locate a document or webpage that definitively states the duration of recovery from “whiplash”. The reason being, it’s difficult to set standard conditions as the extent of the injury can vary widely. Additionally, the duration can differ depending on the type of treatment being administered, so it can be challenging to find content that matches your specific condition.
In Japanese, it’s called “muchi-uchi”, which means “being struck by a whip,” and the pain can linger for a long time. This word is used in the name of the condition, likely because the so-called “whiplash” symptoms are often long-lasting.
The formal name for “whiplash” is traumatic cervical syndrome or Cervical acceleration–deceleration (CAD).
Based on our clinical experience, the typical progression of “whiplash” is that symptoms gradually worsen from the time of the accident, peaking about a month later. This state then continues for about two more months. In other words, the painful condition lasts for about three months. After that, symptoms slowly alleviate over about three months. Therefore, many people might suggest that the recovery period for “whiplash” is roughly between three to six months. In reality, it seems to take another four months for physical strength to recover. Our view is that it takes about ten months in total to feel as though you’ve recovered to your previous state after suffering from “whiplash”.
By “typical whiplash”, I mean whiplash cases that don’t involve fractures, dislocations, or nerve damage.
If acupuncture and moxibustion treatments are started immediately after the accident, they can help prevent the worsening of symptoms, and the peak of the symptoms can be managed to occur around two weeks. After that, similar symptoms continue for about two more weeks, but the symptoms slowly alleviate over about a month. In other words, what would typically take about six months to alleviate can be managed in about two months. Then, if you allow about a month for the recovery of physical strength, you can return to your previous state in about three months in total.
The above opinion can vary, becoming shorter or longer, depending on the circumstances of the accident. For instance, if we take a traffic accident as an example, it might be comparable to being rear-ended at a speed of about 20 to 30 kilometers per hour. Even then, it can change depending on whether the accident was anticipated or unexpected. It also depends on whether the person is physically fit or not, whether they are male or female, young or old. Therefore, it’s not something that can be definitively stated.
If the rear-end accident occurred at about 10 kilometers per hour, the aforementioned duration might be roughly halved. Conversely, if it was about 50 to 60 kilometers per hour, it might require more than double the time. In the case of an accident requiring hospitalization, it would likely be measured in years.
As for the evaluation of treatment, organizations such as the Quebec Whiplash-Associated Disorders Task Force in Canada and the Japan Traffic Science Association’s “Whiplash Injury Study Group” are conducting investigations and research. They list several treatments as having “little or no effect based on scientific evaluation,” but acupuncture is not included in this list.
In Japan, there is a systemic atmosphere of not considering acupuncture and moxibustion treatment as part of medical care because its scientific effects are still not fully understood.
However, in Western countries, including Canada, insurance coverage for such treatments as medical expenses is common, and they have high social credibility.
We believe that the effects of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment are so mysterious that they cannot be explained by current science. The level of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment in Japan is the best in the world. I strongly recommend that those who are suffering from whiplash consider receiving acupuncture and moxibustion treatment.