Your Initial Pain Intensity After a Car Crash May Predict Whether You Recover
“Whiplash” along with its associated symptoms (called Whiplash Associated Disorder-WAD), is the most common set of problems people get following a motor vehicle crash. An estimated 50% of people injured in a car crash never fully recover. Once the symptoms are present longer than 3 months (“chronic”), research shows that treatment becomes much less effective.
There are some findings and factors that when present soon after the crash predict whether someone will be likely to recover or whether they will develop chronic pain that is resistant to treatment. A 2013 systematic review of the scientific literature showed that the most important, the strongest predictor of still having pain 3 months after a car crash is the “intensity” of the pain at the onset. The most researched method of collecting pain intensity as reported by the patient is the simple 0 to 10 scale, called a numerical rating scale (NRS) or visual analog scale (VAS). This is where a patient reports their pain level on a scale from 0 to 10 with 0 being “no pain” and 10 being “worst pain possible”. The 2013 systematic review of the literature showed that a consensus of the articles on the topic shows that if your pain is 5.5 or higher, then you are almost 6 times more likely to have pain after long-term follow-up (6-12 months later).
If your pain is a 5.5/10 or greater after a car crash “whiplash” injury, you should have your spine checked IMMEDIATELY and start the appropriate treatments right away. There are many studies that indicate early treatment is important to try to prevent pain from becoming chronic. Call one of our Modern Chiropractic Clinic locations today to get scheduled for an initial consultation.