Whiplash often occurs as a result of a motor vehicle accident that involves a sudden extension and flexion. Most whiplash victims recover in a few months, but many report recurring pain a year or more later.
A recent 7 year study1 analyzed the best methods of treating whiplash symptoms.
Dr. Linda Carroll, from the University of Alberta in Canada showed that the showed traditional neck collars were unlikely to help and that staying active was crucial.
Another Study2 showed that although, cervical collars are a seemingly benign intervention, they can have adverse effects, especially when used for longer periods of time. It is feared that a long period of immobilization, can result in atrophy-related secondary damage.
"The important thing to do is once you've ruled out serious pathology, like fractures and dislocations, the thing to do is get your neck moving as soon as possible; rest isn't a good thing."
Dr. Carrol stated that neck collars both hard and soft should not be used. She also stated that the neck should be moved.
- Course and Prognostic Factors for Neck Pain in Whiplash-Associated Disorders (WAD): Results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders.Spine Journal February 2008
- When should a cervical collar be used to treat neck pain? Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine June 2008
Additional Reading Resources:
- Part I: Can whiplash cause shoulder pain?
- Part II: How does Whiplash Occur?
- Part III: What Symptoms are associated with a whiplash type injury ?
- Part IV: Reducing Whiplash Injuries by 90% by changing just one thing in your car
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