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Posted on 04-05-2015

Top 5 Whiplash Myths

As a Baltimore chiropractor that spends the majority of my time rendering Baltimore whiplash treatment to those injured in Baltimore auto accidents, there is a lot of misinformation regarding whiplash injuries. In no particular order here are my top 5 whiplash myths that I intend to dispel.

#1) Patients who "tense up" are more likely to be injured than those who are loose (i.e. drunk drivers).

This is not true. The majority of cervical spine (neck) pain following acute whiplash comes from the pain fibers in the facet joint capsules. Tensing up and clenching muscles actually prevent facet joint jamming in some instances, thereby causing decreased injury when a patient clenches up. While there will still likely be muscle straining or tearing, the pain is often less severe than a series of sprained facet joint capsules.

#2) The faster one of the two vehicles is going (in a 2 car crash) the more severe the injuries for the occupants must be.

This one is not true. The so called "delta V" or change in velocity between both the target and bullet vehicles has no scientific correlation to occupant injury. Better predictive factors for injury are the change in acceleration rate of the occupants, also known as "jerk." High rates of jerk can cause very severe injuries even in relatively low speed crashes.

#3) Men and women are equally likely to be injured in a crash.

Most crash test studies are performed on so called "50th percentile" men and women dummies. For men, this is roughly a 5'8'' 175 pound man. How many men do you know that fit this exact criteria? Any deviation from this height and weight make it hard, if not impossible, to accurately predict relative injury risk following a crash. I do not know the qualifications for a 50th percentile woman, but the same logic holds. In any event, human metrics (age, sex, height, weight, and any pre-existing health conditions are more predictive indicators than are sex alone).

#4) You can not have been injured if your car is not damaged.

This one is fairly pervasive in the industry. Defense attorneys like to pretend that non-damaged target vehicles indicate that it is impossible for claimants to have been injured. Scientific research has demonstrated that there is no correlation between property damage of a vehicle and injury risk. In fact, many bumpers are built to not deform at low speeds, thereby paradoxically transferring energy that should be used to crush the bumper onto the vehicle's occupants, and causing MORE injury!

#5) Whiplash patients/claimants are only in it "for the money." If there is no money on the line, no one reports whiplash injuries.

Every country in the world handles the legal side of whiplash claims differently. Even in some countries that do not allow for financial renumeration following non-faulted whiplash injuries there are still injuries reported with similar frequencies as there are in the United States.

Whiplash is a real problem especially in Baltimore. If you, or someone you know has suffered from a whiplash injury and requires treatment please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to dispel any myths and get you on the road to recovery!

Dr. Gulitz

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