You've just been in an accident, you went to the hospital and they gave you a muscle relaxant and pain reliever. Great, now what ? Well, everyone is different, a 75 year old will take longer to get better than a 21 year old. People with health issues will also take longer to heal. Diabetics, heart disease, etc. all impact recovery time after an accident. It is a normal reaction for muscles to tighten up to protect your spine during impact. As a result, muscles will get stretched along with ligaments. When this happens there is an internal reaction involving blood cells to protect your body. This causes inflammation, and with inflammation, you will experience pain. Although inflammation is a protective response to trauma, uncontrolled inflammation is not good. When muscles and ligaments get stretched, since they are attached to bones, they will pull bones out of alignment. This is common in the spine where they can irritate nerve fibers that cause you to experience pain. So what should you do ? First, if you went to the emergency room, follow the advice you received. Second, get to a trauma trained chiropractor. These doctors specialize in trauma injuries with auto accidents like whiplash, back pain and headaches. Trauma trained chiropractors also know what special testing and treatments are needed for your specific condition. It involves coming up with a correct prognosis, diagnosis and treatment plan. Depending on the factors mentioned above, some people will get better quicker than others ranging from days to months. Some will walk away without any residual difficulties while others may experience permanent injuries.