When it comes to research regarding whiplash, many articles have been published that appear to conflict or contradict each other. The goal of this article is to report the “facts” about whiplash.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tests show the soft tissues in your neck sustain injury at a threshold of 5 mph (~8 kmh). That means if you’re rear-ended at 5 mph (~8 kmh) or slower, then you have a lower chance of getting whiplash. However, most rear-end car accidents happen at speeds of 6-12 mph (~6-19 kmh).
- If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s a good idea to be evaluated even if your car didn’t sustain damage and you don’t feel any pain.
- Although whiplash is most often associated with car accidents, you can also get whiplash from sports such as snowboarding, boxing, football, and gymnastics.
- The concept of “no car damage = no injury” is COMPLETELY false. Most cars can withstand collisions of up to 10 mph (~16 kmh) and as pointed out above, only in collisions < 5 mph (~8 kmh) are you less likely to be injured. Collisions that occur between 6-12 mph (~6-19 kmh) 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.”
- Approximately 10% of whiplash injured patients become totally disabled.
- 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 those with a long, slender neck), and head rotation at impact.
Don’t miss the next article, click here for part 2.