Late Whiplash Syndrome

February 16, 2015

With the ice and how slippery the roads can be this time of year, it’s especially important to drive safely whenever road conditions are even somewhat questionable. This is especially important not only to avoid costly car repairs, but costly spine and health repairs as well.

In the August 2001 issue of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology is an article entitled “The Association between Exposure to a Rear-End Collision and Future Health Complaints.” In it, 436 individuals who had been in a rear-end collision were followed up on for seven years for their reports on if they had any headaches, mid back pain, low back pain, poor general health, depression, sleep problems, stomachaches, and fatigue. 232 of the patients followed reported a whiplash injury after the collision while 204 reported no injury. Both of these groups were compared to a group of 3,688 individuals not in a collision to serve as a control group. What was found was that at a 95% confidence, the individuals who had whiplash initially, but had their neck pain resolve, were considerably more likely than normal to have all of the above conditions except for depression and stomachaches. What’s more, even at the more strict 99% confidence, only fatigue was additionally removed from the list of health problems.

This is important to note that even though the whiplash had ‘resolved’, the injury was never truly corrected and resulted in a myriad of other health complaints. While this study only looked at rear-end collisions and whiplash, it’s still important to note that injuries aren’t necessarily ‘fixed’ just because the initial pain went away ‘on its own’.

So take care for the rest of this winter and drive safe. Be careful of falls on the ice, as well. But remember that if you do find yourself injured; be sure to get it corrected rather than just putting up with it.


--Joshua J. J. Jorde

Read the abstract here: