MORE Whiplash Facts

Last month, we discussed 10 facts about whiplash in attempt to dispel some of the myths about this topic. Due to the amount of information available, we couldn’t cover them all. So, here are 10 more interesting facts about whiplash:

  1. Much has been published on the association between ongoing whiplash symptoms and litigation. There is now plenty of evidence that ongoing whiplash injury-related symptoms occur regardless of the presence or absence of litigation.
  2. The concept of a delay in symptoms meaning there is minimal injury has been dispelled. In fact, it’s considered “the norm” that symptoms are delayed.
  3. Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or post-concussive syndrome can occur as a result of whiplash trauma. The good news is that, in most cases, recovery occurs within the first three months.
  4. A study published in the European Spine Journal reported that between 1 and 2 years after a whiplash injury, 22% of patients’ conditions worsened. Condition deterioration at the 2-year mark has also been reported in other studies.
  5. More detailed studies that followed whiplash patients through time reported that 45% remain symptomatic at 12 weeks (3 months) and 25% at 6 months. Others reported the recovery time in most “minor cases” is 8 weeks (2 months), time to stabilization (not recovery) in the more severe cases was 17 weeks (4 months), and in the most severe category, 20.5 weeks (5 months). Hence, the concept that whiplash heals in 6-12 weeks is challenged (note, there is little support for this common myth).
  6. Each year, approximately 1.99 million Americans are injured in motor vehicle collisions.
  7. Since 1990, a mean of 40% of a pool of whiplash patients from all vectors of collision (that is, rear, front, or side impacts) were still symptomatic at a 2-year follow up. One study found 59% of ONLY rear-end collision patients remained symptomatic at a 2-year follow-up.
  8. Although these estimates vary, approximately 10% of whiplash associated disorder (WAD) subjects become disabled to a point of not being able to continue working.
  9. Children who sustain whiplash injuries display sleep disturbances, nightmares, difficulty talking to parents and friends (brain injury), mood changes, poor academic performance, and fears of participating in high-impact sports. Moreover, children tend to be overlooked in the evaluation and treatment process since they tend to complain less.
  10. If the size of the two impacting vehicles is the same, an 8 mph (~13 kmh) impact produces two times the force of gravity. When the bullet vehicle is larger than the target vehicle, the impact force increases dramatically.