Whiplash results from a sudden trauma, typically involving an accident, where the injured person’s car is struck from behind, from the front, or from one of the sides. The injury is caused by the head quickly accelerating, like a “crack the whip” action, which often results in a headache, neck pain and sometimes loss of memory or the ability to concentrate.
Who Is Most Susceptible To A Disability?
There are many reports about whiplash and the factors of the collision that may predict who will become disabled from such an injury. Previous reports have suggested that female gender (due to a slender neck), older age (due to less flexible joints), marital status (due to stress if divorced or single), heavy manual labor, self- employment, previous psychological problems, the inability to concentrate, catastrophizing about pain, and fear of relapse by doing regular activity have all been common issues discussed in research articles.
To understand the possible risk factors that could prolong recovery and be more susceptible to disability, a study in February 2009 investigated this question. Researchers sent questionnaires to 879 people who had claims involving an auto accident. The surveys asked for detailed information about the incident, the injuries that had occurred, their current complaints, and questions regarding work and disability. Followup surveys where then sent 6 and 12 months after the accident date. Of the 879 claims, 59% were found to be work disabled. The most important factors were age, and concentration complaints identified at the 1-month were most predictive of those that would still be disabled at one year. What was interesting was that most of the previously accepted risk factors of long-term disability such as the intensity of manual labor, educational level, and the like, were not found to be helpful in predicting long-term disability before the one year point with only age and concentration impairment being identified. In the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the treatment on the complaints involving concentration, brain-related functions, should be managed in conjunction rather than treating the physical complaints solely.
Not Just In Your Head?
A condition called mild traumatic brain injury or, post-concussive syndrome can apply to people injured in car accidents who have lost some of the higher cortical or brain related functions. Though the majority of patients will usually recover from this, a minority will not. It is, therefore, important for patients and healthcare providers to become keenly aware of symptoms like memory loss (primarily short-term), loss of your train of thought (forgetting what you were about to say), or having difficulty formulating what you want to say (getting the right words out). Many patients are reluctant to say anything to their health care provider as they are often embarrassed and don’t feel comfortable talking about it. They often think they are “…just going through a stage,” and that they may “sound strange” if they discuss these symptoms and therefore avoid even bringing it up during the history. In the end, most patients are relieved after they find out that it’s “not all in their head,” and are more comfortable discussing it when they know their health care provider is aware of their cognitive dysfunction and that it’s a real problem. As one patient put it, “I thought I was going crazy,” when in fact these, sometimes quite subtle, symptoms are significant clues in identifying this condition so that prompt attention can be directed to these problems.
Injury Help in Atlanta!
If you or a loved one is suffering from whiplash, sharing this information could be one of the most significant acts of kindness that you can give to another.
To learn more about our Pain Relief and Whiplash treatment programs or to schedule a complimentary consultation, call our Scheduling Hotline at 855-58-WRECK – 855-589-7325 and visit our website at http://www.APICpro.com. We are available to serve you as soon as today with multiple clinic locations throughout the Metro Atlanta area.