Whiplash – Neck
What is it? Whiplash is a neck injury that can occur during rear-end automobile collisions, when your head suddenly moves backward and then forward — similar to the motion of someone cracking a whip. These extreme motions push your neck muscles and ligaments beyond their normal range of motion.
Statistics: whiplash symptoms last more than 6 months in 75% of patients. Symptoms of whiplash commonly do not appear until weeks or months after the accident. Whiplash victims lose an average of 8 weeks of work. Whiplash is 5 times more common in women than in men. Whiplash occurs most commonly in those aged 30 to 50 years. Rear-end collisions typically cause more cervical spine damage than do frontal or side collisions.
Important Facts: 3 SOLID “INJURY-CRASH-FACTS”
#1. The “Threshold” for cervical spine soft tissue injury of a motor vehicle becomes a reality at 5 MPH.
#2. Most injuries occur at speeds below 12 MPH.
#3. Crashed vehicles can often withstand collision speeds of 10 MPH (some even more) without sustaining damage. (THUS: The concept of “No Property Damage – No Cash” has absolutely been invalidated)!
Treatment: Studies have proven that 45% of the victims remained symptomatic at 12 weeks and 25% remained symptomatic at 6 months. Even the most minor cases needed at least 8 weeks to recover. The time needed to stabilize in the more severe cases took 17 weeks. THUS: The written (and often declared) notion that “Whiplash Injuries Heal In 6 To 8 Weeks” is just not true !
Most people recover completely from a whiplash injury in the first six weeks. Others’ symptoms continue to improve over the course of a year. There is a 40% chance of experiencing some symptoms after three months, and an 18% chance after two years. No reliable way exists to predict the prognosis.
A worse outcome has been reported in people with a more rotated or inclined head position at the time of impact injury.
Dos/Don’ts: Try over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. For at least 2 to 3 weeks, avoid activities that bring on or worsen your pain and stiffness. Don’t lift or carry anything heavy or participate in sports. Do not sit, especially at a desk, for long periods of time. If possible, stay active by taking short walks. Ice your neck to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you can after the injury. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. Apply moist heat to your neck — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your neck only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use hot, wet towels or just take a hot bath.
Common Myths: Children who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents are often neglected as having had “Any various types of injury“, when in actuality, they suffer from the same symptoms as adults. As a matter of fact, they’re at a greater risk for damages – – especially when it comes to “WHIPLASH”!