What are the most common symptoms of whiplash?
Some specific injuries and pain are present in nearly every case of whiplash. The following is a list of the ten most-reported symptoms, with their estimated prevalence:
- ( ) Neck pain (97%)
- ( ) Headache (97%)
- ( ) Shoulder pain (65%)
- ( ) Anxiety (55%)
- ( ) Back pain (42%)
- ( ) Depression (41%)
- ( ) Visual symptoms (35%)
- ( ) Thoracic outlet syndrome (33%)
- ( ) Dizziness (23%)
Which one(s) do you have?
How long does a typical whiplash injury take to heal?
It depends on many variables. First of all, there is no such thing as a typical whiplash injury. There are so many different variables involved in a collision that it's not uncommon for two people to be in the same vehicle, and suffer different degrees of injury.
Therefore, the healing time also varies greatly. Some people who have experienced a rear-end collision may suffer symptoms for just a few hours. Most people seem to recover in around six weeks. But the medical literature consistently shows that a significant percentage of people -- around one out of three experience some kind of long-term symptoms after a crash.
What's the best way to treat a whiplash injury?
It depends on the severity of the injury and the patient's needs. Very few whiplash injuries require surgical treatment or a hospital stay, but many whiplash patients go the emergency room as their first treatment, especially if the collision was severe.
Drugs are often prescribed for whiplash patients, and they can be useful for short-term relief of pain. Long-term use of medications, however, can lead to dependency, and the drugs themselves do not help the injured tissues heal.
The key to long-term health of the soft-tissues after injury is mobilization of the affected areas by a licensed health care professional. This is best accomplished with spinal adjustments and muscular therapy (rehabilitation), either alone or in combination.
What are the risk factors for long-term injury from a rear-end collision?
There are many risk factors. One study attempted to predict which variables would result in injury in the test occupants exposed to a low speed collision. Even when taking into account many different factors, the predictions were only 70% accurate.
Researchers, doctors and scientists have compiled a list of factors and variables believed to influence the risk of injury.
- The speed and size of the vehicles involved.
- Road conditions.
- Occupant head position.
- Women are more likely to be injured than are men.
- Occupant awareness. An occupant who is aware of the impending impact is less likely to suffer long-term consequences, as they have time to "brace" themselves for the impact, lessening the severity of injury to the soft-tissues of the neck.
- The proper use of head restraints.
- Safety belts. Some researchers have suggested that seatbelts may increase the risk of injury in rear-end collision. (NOTE: Seat belts save many lives each year, and the potential life-saving ability of seatbelts far outweighs the slight risk of increased injury during a "minor" collision. You should always wear your seatbelt.)
- Secondary collisions.
- Direct body impact.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Medical history. Pre-existing health conditions can increase the risk of injury.
- Pain onset. Generally, when symptoms appear immediately after the collision, healing takes longer.
Can a low speed collision (less than 10 mph) result in injury?
Yes. Many engineers refuse to conduct rear-end test collisions over 5 mph because of the possibility of injury to test subjects.
For many years, it was believed that injury was impossible at low speeds. Professionals thought this because the typical motion of the head seen during a higher speed collision were not observed. It is now thought that, the cervical spine may actually be more at risk from a low speed impacts than at a higher speed. This is because of more recent research.