Sudden acceleration and deceleration are the usual causes of injuries to occupants in vehicular crashes. In whiplash, for instance, the unsuspecting occupant, who is unprepared and not braced, is suddenly propelled forward from zero miles per hour to ten miles per hour or more, in thousandths of a second. The occupant’s body is propelled forward while the head lags behind, creating a shear force within 50 milliseconds after impact. The shear results in connective tissue tearing and joint impact. The injury results in pain, stiffness, headache, restricted motion, and neurologic symptoms including pain, numbness, and weakness into the arms.
In 2008, the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on Neck Pain and its Associated Disorders reported that 50% to 75% of individuals with neck pain also report pain one to five years later. A recently published clinical practice guideline published in October, 2016, in the Journal of Manipulative Therapy and Physiologic Therapeutics states that some studies report that between 33% and 65% of people recover from an episode of acute neck pain at one year, but most cases follow an episodic course over a person’s lifetime and thus relapses are common. Only experienced doctors who know how to manage these injuries can prevent that from happening to you.