You may be surprised by the research on whiplash injuries.
Unfortunately, whiplash injuries are common in winter months because of rear end collisions. There are several misconceptions that have been dispelled by research. What you don’t know may lead to greater harm to you if you are rear ended by another vehicle.
Research shows that low impact collisions are more dangerous to passengers as most people think. At 8 mph the head and neck are exposed to forces 2.5 times those of the vehicle itself. In a 1992 research by Macnab in The Spine, states that “in a 15 mph collision the head would accelerate with a force of 10 G’s in less than 1/2 second.” To put this in perspective, a fighter pilot begins to “gray out” at 6G and one cannot raise their body against 8G. At 5G there is a 50/50 chance of sustaining a concussion. TAKEAWAY: Low speed accidents can create real bodily harm that left uncorrected may lead to big problems in the future.
Research also shows that damage to your car is often much less severe than the damage to your body. TAKEAWAY: Just because your car is ok, doesn’t mean you are.
Being unaware of the impending collision has been shown to increase the occupant’s risk of injury, NOT decrease it (Emori, 1990). Being relaxed is not as good as you think. Tensing up actually reduces your risk of neck injury to the spine and tensing can reduce head extension by up to 40%. TAKEAWAY: Brace yourself if you see it coming.
Women were found to be 4.8% more likely to suffer neck injuries than men. This is because of their longer and thinner necks in proportion to their heads. Research has also shown that women are more likely to suffer long-term pain from whiplash injuries than are men (Van den Kroonenberg A, et al, 1998). TAKEAWAY: Women should be quick to seek help after an accident as whiplash damage is often worse.
Whiplash injuries in the elderly are generally more serious. A degenerative spine behaves more like a stick than series of moveable structures and the forces of a collision cause greater damage to the stick-like neck. (Ameis, 1995 British Medical Journal). TAKEAWAY: Age and arthritis make injuries worse.
Having your foot on the brake at the time of impact, reduces the potential for injury.
If your car is on a slippery surface when hit and your car moves, the more it moves forward the greater the severity of your whiplash injury.
After an accident, seek help. The full potential of your injuries can take days, even weeks to manifest themselves. Much of the underlying dysfunction caused by an accident may never be felt by you. Without proper evaluation and addressing of the underlying damage, a small accident may produce LARGE problems for you in the future. There is a lack relationship between damage to your vehicle and the occupants in low speed impacts. Don’t judge your injuries based on the damage to your car. Our office will see you the same week of your call. Our number is (207) 774-6251. We have over 15 years of experience helping people after car accidents of all types.