Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Whiplash what is it and how to treat It

With all of the construction on Key Ave I thought discussing “whiplash" would be a good topic. Whiplash is a term that was coined in around 1928 which describes the injuries an individual gets to his neck and back following a motor vehicle accident. Up until the advent of the automobile “whiplash” was not a very common occurrence. The easiest way to describe whiplash is a sprain or strain to the neck. It can cause a variety of symptoms such as neck pain, neck stiffness, headaches, arm/shoulder pain, back pain and numbness and tingling into the extremities. It can take 24 hours to several days for these symptoms to show up. Many times people believe that injury is related to automobile damage; the more damage the more injury. This is not always the case. Many times severe injuries can occur with little to no vehicle damage. One of the reasons that this can occur is if the accident caused rapid acceleration (moving very quickly) that can cause more damage to the structures of the neck. Generally getting hit from behind by another vehicle on wet pavement causes more damage to the neck than dry pavement due to acceleration. Getting hit on snow or ice will cause more damage than being hit on wet pavement. I read somewhere that being hit by a Volkswagen on ice is about the same as being hit by a city bus on dry pavement. Here is link to an animation of a whiplash injury

So what do you do if you have pain associated with a “whiplash”? One the most highly regarded studies to date was the Quebec Task Force on Guidelines for the Management of Whiplash-Associated disorders. They really did not do any new research they just reviewed all the current research and their findings. They found the most effective treatment to be manipulation and mobilization and range of motion exercises. Medications can be used but should be limited to no more than 3 weeks. A cervical collar should not be worn for longer than 72 hours. So if you are unfortunate enough to have a “whiplash” disorder give our office a call and we will get you back on your feet ASAP, and most automobile insurance companies will pay 100% of the medical costs.