Some Whiplash Facts

As with most topics in medicine, there are lots of different interpretations and opinions.  When it comes to whiplash research, there are some common threads.  Here is a list that most researchers would agree upon.

  • For whiplash caused by car accidents, the severity depends on the force of the impact, the way you were seated in your car, and if you were properly restrained using a shoulder and seat belt.
  • If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s a good idea to be evaluated even if your car didn’t get damaged and you don’t feel any pain.
  • The concept of “no car damage = no injury” is COMPLETELY false. Most cars can withstand collisions of up to 10 MPH and as pointed out above, only in collisions < 5 MPH are you less likely to be injured. Collisions that occur between 6-12 MPH cause the highest percentage of whiplash injuries (which is below the threshold of car damage in most cases). Also, the energy of the impact is transferred to the contents inside the car when there is no vehicular damage (that means you).
  • Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) can occur in motor vehicle collisions even if the head does not hit an object inside the car, although it’s more common when there is a head strike. The symptoms associated with MTBI are often referred to as “Post Concussive Syndrome.”
  • It is more common to have a delay in the onset of whiplash symptoms. Symptoms may start about two hours after the initial injury or it may take days, weeks, or months before you feel anything.
  • Tests show the soft tissues in your neck sustain injury at a threshold of 5 mph. That means if you’re rear-ended at 5 mph or slower, you have a lower chance of getting whiplash. However, most rear-end car accidents happen at speeds of 6-12 mph.
  • Approximately 10% of whiplash injured patients become totally disabled.
  • Although whiplash is most often associated with car accidents, you can also get whiplash from sports such as snowboarding, boxing, football and gymnastics.
  • Of the studies published since 1995, over 60% of whiplash patients required long-term medical care.
  • Risk factors for long-term symptoms associated with WAD include: rear impacts, loss of the cervical lordosis curve, pre-existing degenerative arthritis, use of seat belts & shoulder harness (low speed impacts only), poor head restraint position or shape, non-awareness of the impending collision, female (especially long slender neck), head rotation at impact.

If you have been injured in a car accident, do not hesitate.  Call us at Innova Pain Clinic and let’s see what we can do to put you back on the road to health.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic and freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic and freedigitalphotos.net

Dr. Andrew White

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