Whiplash, the invisible injury

Whiplash injuries are difficult to overcome and can be sustained through a variety of ways. In fact over 50% of whiplash injuries wont recover within a 3-month period. However, there are certain physiological factors can predict whether a poor outcome may occur.

1. Describing having a pain level of a minimum of 5/10 or record a neck disability questionnaire score of minimum 15/50. Basically this is stating that there is a high level of pain post incident, therefore more concerted effort is required to control pain levels.
2. Their psychological output will influence their recovery. In fact how they their recovery will play a role. If a negative response is recorded this should be addressed accordingly.
3. Whether or not the individual has developed post-traumatic stress, this can generally be recorded using an impact of events scale at the 3-6 week mark post injury.
4. Generally some initially physical impairment can play a role. Therefore if decreased initial range of motion and initial hyperalgaseia can predict a poor outcome.
5. How a person ‘rates the severity’ of the crash. Even if it is a ‘minor’ incident but if the individual views it as something major this will have a prolonged effect.

As we have discussed factors, which can influence the outcome of a whiplash injury, these are areas, which have NO influence of whether an individual will make a poor recovery.

1. X-ray, MRI, CT scans which show degeneration or show mild pathology
2. Speed of the vehicle, seat belt use, awareness that an accident is or isn’t going to happen and position in the vehicle won’t have any outcome on recovery.
3. Head position or direction of impact at time of impact or the use of head restraints don’t influence recovery response
4. Whether an air-bag is deployed
5. Marital status, education age, gender
6. Pain or general physical position prior to the accident
7. Utilising health care for treatment on a regular

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