Whiplash Part 2 – What factors make it worse and when do you start to feel it?

Whiplash Part 2 – What factors make it worse and when do you start to feel it?

Whiplash iStock_neckpain(3)Last newsletter we introduced the topic of Whiplash Injuries – what it is, and what it feels like. This newsletter we cover the various factors that can influence the severity of the injury.

Whiplash injuries are the most common injury to arise out of rear-end collisions, although they can also occur during other activities such as certain sports – most commonly snowboarding (well, perhaps not with this year’s snow conditions!). Nearly 200 rear-end collisions happen each day in British Columbia alone. Whiplash injuries account for more than 65% of all bodily injury claims (Navan et al., 2000).

When do you start to feel the symptoms?

The answer is not that straightforward. We do know that generally the earlier the symptoms occur, the more severe damage tends to be. However, it is common for symptoms to be delayed for days, weeks, or even months after an injury occurs. Unfortunately, this leaves patients believing that they have not been injured when in fact they have. For these reason, it is very important for person involved in a collision to be examined by their doctor as soon as possible following the crash.

Factors that determine the Severity of the Injury:

  • Your position in the car (front seat, back seat, etc.)
  • Your age
  • The length of your neck and weight of your head
  • Whether you were using the seat belts/shoulder harness, headrest positioning
  • If you were prepared for the impact
  • Your head and body position at the moment of impact
  • The make and model of your car along with any special safety features it may be equipped with
  • The size and speed of the vehicle that you were travelling in
  • The size and speed of the vehicle that collided with your vehicle
  • Whether there were subsequent collisions with other vehicles
  • The direction of the impact
  • How soon after the collision that you experienced symptoms
  • Whether your seat back collapsed
  • Your health prior to the collision such as pre-existing injuries or conditions such as arthritis

Numerous studies show that many whiplash victims have a relatively poor outcome without immediate and appropriate treatment. One such study found that 75% of patients with whiplash still suffer from symptoms 6 months after the accident. Experts agree that individuals with any degree of neck complaints following a motor vehicle accident dramatically improve their prognosis if they seek immediate evaluation and appropriate treatment within hours of the accident.

Next Newsletter: How is Whiplash diagnosed? AND What is the best treatment?

Chiropractors are well- known for helping patients overcome the injuries in whiplash – and not just for the relief of pain, but for maximum restoration of lost function. If you’ve been in an accident and think you think you might have whiplash, no matter how minor, schedule a chiropractic appointment. You’ll be glad you did!

~DR. G

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