Interesting Facts About Whiplash

We all know automobile accidents or motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) are the most common cause of whiplash; however, whiplash can also occur from a slip and fall and virtually any injury where your head is whipped backwards. Here are some important facts about whiplash you may not be aware of…

For example, did you know the effect whiplash has on public health (in general) is tremendous? The number of cases of whiplash occurring annually is frequently quoted as 1,000,000 per year in the United States, but this is based on an outdated (1971) and incomplete dataset. A more recent figure of 3 million per year is considered to be more accurate because it’s based on several governmental databases and includes an estimate of cases that may not be reported in government systems. For example, in less catastrophic accidents, the injured party may not appear to be significantly injured at the scene of the MVC and decline emergency care and hence, the MVC will to unreported to a governmental data collection center.

Another interesting study surveyed over 3,500 chiropractors who were asked if they commonly applied cervical (neck) spinal manipulation to patients who had known herniated or protruded disks (in their neck). Over 90% of the chiropractors indicated they found it safe and effective to utilize cervical adjustments (manipulation) in this patient population. It is VERY important for you to know this as frequently, you may be told by your medical doctor (or next door neighbor), “…don’t let anyone crack your neck!” Now, you can rest assured that in the experience of MANY chiropractors, significant benefits can be achieved through this treatment approach. Moreover, the sooner neck adjustments are applied, the better the results - so don’t wait to get a chiropractic treatment after an MVC!

Another interesting study investigated the “proper” or “best” seated position in a car during a rear-end collision, based on an analysis of many previously published studies on this topic. Because the seated position of the person involved in a MVC is related to the degree of the injury, the factors studied included the angle of the seat back, seat-bottom angle, the density of the foam in the seatback, the height above the floor [of the knees], and the presence of armrests in cars. They found that the seat back angle of 110-130 degrees reduced disk pressure and low backer muscle activity. A five degree downwards tilt of the seat bottom further reduced the pressure in the disks in the lower back and muscle activity as measured by EMG (electromyography). The researchers also found the combination of both armrests and a lumbar support reduced the risk of injury associated with MVCs, especially in a rear-end MVC. Other important factors included firm dense foam in the seat back, an adjustable seat bottom (for angle, height, and front to back distance), horizontal & vertical lumbar support adjustments (…best if they pulsate to reduce the static load encountered in a crash), seat shock absorbers, and seat adjustments for front to back to adjust for different driver heights.