The Lingering Effects of Whiplash

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Friday, April 03, 2009 

                        The Lingering Effects of Whiplash

                        Written by Dr. Dan Murphy, D.C.
                        TAC, Research , Volume 28, Issue 6
                        Published:5/31/2006
                              

 

                        Soft-tissue Injuries of the Cervical Spine 15-year
                        Follow-up
                        Reference:
                        Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (British)
                        November 1996, Vol. 78-B, No. 6, pp. 955-7
                        B. Squires, M. F. Gargan, G. C. Bannister: From the
                        University of Bristol, England
                      
                        KEY POINTS FROM DAN MURPHY
                        1) At a mean of 15.5 years post whiplash trauma, 70% of
                        whiplash-injured patients continued to complain of
                        symptoms referable to the original accident.
                        2) Long-term symptoms from whiplash injury include neck
                        pain, arm paraesthesia, back pain, headache, dizziness,
                        and tinnitus.
                        3) Women and older patients have a worse outcome from
                        whiplash injuries.
                        4) Radiating arm pain is more common in those with
                        severe symptoms.
                        5) Between 10 and 15 years after the accident, 18% of
                        the patients had improved, whereas 28% had deteriorated.
                        6) Soft-tissue injuries to the cervical spine may give
                        persisting symptoms.
                        7) Most whiplash-injured patients reach their final
                        state by two years after being injured, but this study
                        shows ongoing symptom fluctuation between years 10 to
                           15.
                        8) At the 15-year follow-up, neck pain was present in
                        65% and low-back pain was present in 48%.
                        9) 80% of women and 50% of men continued to have
                        symptoms at 15 years.
                        10) Back pain and tinnitus increased between years 10
                        and 15.
                        11) Symptoms remained static in 54%, improved in 18% and
                        worsened in 28%.
                        12) Degenerative changes are associated with a worse
                        prognosis for recovery.
                        13) 60% of symptomatic patients had not seen a doctor in
                        the previous five years because the doctors were unable
                        to help them.
                        14) 18% had taken early retirement due to health
                        problems, which they related to the whiplash injury.
                        15) Whiplash symptoms do not improve after settlement of
                        litigation.
                        16) Most radiating pain is referral from the facets, and
                        not radicular.
                        17) Chronic whiplash symptoms will cause an abnormal
                        psychological assessment after 3 months.
                        18) In this study, 100% of patients with severe ongoing
                        problems had cervical spinal degeneration.
                       
                        A 1978 graduate of Western States Chiropractic College,
                        Dr. Dan Murphy is on the faculty of Life Chiropractic
                        College West, and is the Vice President of the
                        International Chiropractic Association. For more
                        information, visit
                        www.danmurphydc.com.