One in three people in rear-end car crashes suffer from chronic symptoms. Scientists are still studying what causes chronic pain after auto injury, in effort to identify at-risk patients in need of specialized care.
In a study from the European Journal of Neurology, the authors sought to determine risk factors for developing chronic symptoms after auto injury. They followed a group of 688 people who had been in frontal or rear-end collisions and showed signs of whiplash within three days after the accident. Patients were categorized as having a "low" or "high" risk for experiencing chronic pain based on a cervical range of motion, pain levels, and a neurological exam. The patients were unaware of whether they were categorized as low or high risk. Researchers evaluated the patients after two weeks, three months, and twelve months after the auto injury.
The authors identified the following risk factors for a slower rate of recovery:
Patients who had these symptom patterns at the start of the study were ten times more likely to experience chronic pain after auto injury. Other research has suggested that the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder and dizziness may also increase a patient's risk of chronic whiplash symptoms.
Preventing chronic pain after auto injury starts with seeking active treatments, such as the chiropractic care and physical therapy we offer in Aloha, OR. Studies suggest that chiropractic can substantially ease symptoms in patients with whiplash. Our Aloha/Beaverton chiropractors use evidence-based treatments to relieve symptoms and prevent chronic pain. Call Oregon Medical Centers for auto injury relief in Aloha and Beaverton, OR today.
Kasch H, Qerama E, Kongstad A, et al. Clinical assessment of prognostic factors for long-term pain and handicap after whiplash injury: a 1-year prospective study. European Journal of Neurology 2008;15:1222-1230.