Biomechanics of Whiplash
Understanding the mechanics and consequences of whiplash injuries are an important part of any injury related to a motor vehicle crash. In a recent article published in 2009, the authors Hai-Bin, Yang, & Zheng-guo state, “Despite a large number of rear-end collisions on the road and a high frequency of whiplash injuries reported, the mechanism of whiplash injuries is not completely understood. One of the reasons is that the injury is not necessarily accompanied by obvious tissue damage detectable by X-ray or MRI” (p. 305). In other words, external damage may not equal internal damage (to body of vehicle OR patient). Think of an egg carton that you check at the grocery store, you open it up and see the eggs--you don't just trust the outside of the carton! Same with your body, spine, and vehicle bumpers. You need to check INSIDE.....get an examination and x-rays done.....when you have been injured. You may have injury and not even know it!
Image Compliments of Medical Legal Art via The Doe Report (www.doereport.com). Copyright © 2010 Medical Legal Art, All rights reserved. The authors go on to state the following, “It was estimated that the annual incidence was 3.8 per thousand populations in the US…The rate continued to increase even after the introduction of mandatory seatbelts…A proportion of victims will be left with a significant disability that may interfere with jobs, everyday activities, and leisure-time pursuits…Most studies on the natural history of WAD have suggested a proportion between 6%and 18% with long-term disability” (Hai-Bin, Yang, & Zheng-guo, 2009, p. 305).
The authors report, “According to an extensive review of whiplash injury, the structures most likely to be injured in whiplash were the facet capsule, the intervertebral discs and the upper cervical ligaments” (Hai-Bin, Yang, & Zheng-guo, 2009, p. 305). When working with healthcare experts in the medical area, it is critical that the practitioners understand the very latest trends in research. Having a working knowledge on how injuries happen, how to document them and how to offer accurate prognoses for long-term disability have never been more important than they are today.
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Chen, H. B., Yang, K. H., & Wang, Z. G. (2009). Biomechanics of whiplash injury. Chinese Journal of Traumatology, 12(5),305-314.