Every year, 6 million Americans are injured in motor vehicle accidents. Of that number, fully half are whiplash injuries. That’s 3 million of us, every single year.
Between half a million and 1 million of those cases result in chronic neck pain.
So, whiplash injury prevention is a very good thing to be pro-active about. While it’s true that some accidents can’t be avoided (like getting rear-ended by another vehicle), you can protect yourself by ensuring your own vehicle is equipped with the right whiplash prevention tools.
Let’s look at whiplash injury prevention and ways to mitigate the damage if you’re already suffering from whiplash.
The right ride
Your vehicle’s headrests (head restraints) are there for a reason. They’re to stop your head from being propelled backwards, which is how whiplash happens. Your head snaps back on impact, then forward in the aftermath. If your head is turned to the side when impact occurs, the injury can be more severe and quite possibly result in chronic pain.
Your headrests can be your best friends forever, but not if they’re in the wrong position to protect you from whiplash. While you may not like the appearance of headrests pulled up from the seat, if you’re a taller person, that’s where they need to be to do their neck-protecting job.
Believe it or not, the type of car you drive also matters. Airbags, the type of headrests and safety belts are all important factors in vehicle selection. You should also know that the smaller your vehicle is, the more likely its passengers are to sustain a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision.
Look at your current vehicle and see what you can do to customize it for greater safety. It’s well worth the effort and expense.
Prepare, if possible
“The other car came out of nowhere!” How many times have you heard someone say that? But the fact is that inattention is sometimes a factor in car collisions. One or both drivers just weren’t on the ball.
Driving attentively should be the norm, but I guess we’re all aware it’s not. All the same, being aware can save you a nasty case of whiplash – even your life.
If you’re aware that a collision is imminent, push your head into the headrest, aligning it with your neck. If you’re driving, straighten your arms and press your hands against the steering wheel. Also, if you’re not moving as the other car closes in, put your foot on the brake to inhibit the motion of the car’s chassis.
Look straight ahead. When the head is turned at the time of impact, a whiplash injury resulting in chronic pain is much more likely.
These strategies are fundamental to whiplash injury prevention. While you can’t always see the other vehicle bearing down, you can be prepared with the right safety features. If you’re aware and can prepare, you can prevent whiplash injury.
Have you sustained a whiplash injury? Award-winning, multi-disciplinarian care at Back & Body can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation.