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Posted on 04-16-2013

Risk Factors For Acute Injury and Long-Term Symptoms Associated With Whiplash

I often get asked questions regarding why some people in the same car, when exposed to the same forces of a crash, get injured, while other occupants of the vehicle do not suffer injuries. It is important to understand that forces and acceleration alone do not dictate risk for whiplash injury. Certain risk factors such as a person's age, height, previous health condition and head restraint geometry all play a role, even in instances of lower property damage crashes.

According to Dr. Arthur Croft in his book "Whiplash and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Guide for Patients and Practitioners" Dr. Croft notes the following factors as being predictive of experiencing whiplash from an auto accident (page 22):

    Female sex
    Females weighing less than 130 lbs in front crashes
    Tall females
    History of prior neck injury
    Head restraint below head's center of gravity
    History of whiplash injury
    Poor head restraint geometry/tall occupant
    Rear vs. other vector impacts
    Use of seat belts/shoulder harness
    Body mass index/head neck index (decreased risk with increasing mass and neck size)
    Out-of-position occupant (i.e. leaning forward/slumped posture)
    Having the head turned at impact
    Non-awareness of impending impact
    Increasing age (middle age and beyond)
    Front vs. rear seat position
    Impact by vehicle of greater mass
    Crash velocity under 10 mph (paradoxical, but true!)

If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident and has suffered from a whiplash injury in Baltimore, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500 or email us. We would be happy to help! 

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