Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation


Dr. Thomas Colletti, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA


Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD) are common and disabling conditions among accident survivors. Neck pain related to whiplash associated disorders (WADs) most commonly results from motor vehicle accidents.1,2 Whiplash-associated disorders are defined as an injury to the neck that occurs with sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head and neck relative to other parts of the body, typically occurring during motor vehicle collisions.2,3Individuals experience pain in the neck and other parts of the body because of abrupt backward or forward movement of the neck upon impact during accidents.The majority of adults with traffic injuries report pain in the neck and upper limb pain. Other common symptoms of WADs include headache, stiffness, shoulder and back pain, numbness, dizziness, sleeping difficulties, fatigue, and cognitive deficits.

At times it is not possible to know the exact cause of neck pain in the days or weeks after a car accident. Inflammation and strain of the muscles and ligaments usually heal within six to ten weeks. Pain that lasts longer is usually a result of deeper problems such as injury to the disc, facet joint, atlanto-occipital joint, atlanto-axial joint, ligaments or a combination of all.


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