Health Update: Whiplash
Whiplash Associated Disorders
Is the speed of a car crash directly proportional to amount of injury sustained to the occupants? One would expect more whiplash injury to occur when the speed of the collision is faster. Sometimes, this is the case – especially when car accidents occur at highway speeds.
However, what about the cases where a patient ends up in a lot of pain even when the speeds are quite slow, especially when there is little to no damage to the vehicle? , The answer to this seemingly paradoxical relationship has to do with plastic vs. elastic deformity.
This may be more simply understood if you think of “plastic” as something (in this case, your car) breaking apart vs. “elastic” as bouncing off without deforming or breaking apart. Therefore, in plastic deformity, there is more damage to the vehicle and in elastic deformity, there is little to no damage. When there is more metal crushing or more vehicular damage (plastic deformity), the G-forces associated with the crash are absorbed by the crushing metal, which in turn, exerts LESS G-forces to the contents inside the vehicle (ie, the occupants), resulting in less injury. On the other hand, in the stiffer, less damaged vehicle, the energy is not absorbed by crushing metal (elastic deformity), resulting in the contents or occupants inside the vehicle being jostled or thrown about to a greater extent (due to the higher G-forces are exerted) and are at a greater risk for a higher degree of injury.
To illustrate this point, let’s say that, we have a car that hits a solid brick wall at 10 mph that crushes in the front of the car 5 inches. In the second scenario, let’s keep the car at a speed 10 mph, but because of a different car design (stiffer frame such as a solid bumper-to-bumper chassis), the crush in this instance is only 2 inches.
In the first example, the acceleration is found to be 8 G’s of force. In the second example, acceleration is equals about 20 Gs of force. Thus, a collision with the same velocity, but with a crush amount smaller by 2.5 times will have a resulting G force 2.5 times larger.
Facts such as these are VERY important for you, your family and your doctor to appreciate, especially if there is legal action being taken in the case. Therefore, it is important for you to choose a health care provider who understands and appreciates the potential impact this information carries when addressing your health related needs and communicating this information to others involved in a case.
Please contact our Las Vegas Chiropractor office if you, your family or friends are in need of treatment for whiplash or suffering with whiplash injuries that were sustained in a motor vehicle collision.
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