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Truth About Whiplash

Updated on July 15, 2008

“The Problem With Whiplash…”

Everyday hundreds of auto accidents occur and the occupants are injured. Fortunately, the majority of these injury victims do not suffer fatal injuries. That’s the good news. The bad news is, most of the occupants suffer injuries that they may not be aware of or are mistreated by other doctors.

The “Problem with Whiplash” is that very few people truly understand it. Well meaning emergency room physicians, general medical doctors and even many chiropractors do not fully appreciate the extent of injury suffered by these patients. Worse yet, they cannot prove to the insurance companies, lawyers and juries that the injuries are real. The end result is that whiplash victims are given short shrift in terms of poor documentation, inadequate treatment, and low compensation for their injuries.

The first thing to realize about whiplash type injuries is that they are real. The current medical literature is filled with objective research validating this type of injury. Further, the research indicates that injuries can occur at surprisingly slow speeds and sometimes even without much car damage.

Next, whiplash injuries can remain hidden for weeks, months, even years before tell-tale symptoms emerge. The insurance companies try to disallow claims if an injured party makes a claim more than a month after the accident occurs. Those well versed in this arena know that this is fairly typical. Many people wait for a time to see if the problems will go away without treatment. Contrary to popular belief, most people do not like going to doctors.

The literature also indicates that it is common for symptoms to emerge slowly over a period of time and not necessarily all at once right at the outset. The insurance companies also know this, but they use it in their defense anyway because many patients and their attorneys will back away from these claims. The interesting thing is that if you are injured and report to a doctor right away, often times the insurance company will ask why you didn’t wait awhile to see if the injuries would improve!

Face it, no matter what your claim is, they will defend against it. Therefore, if your injury is one day old or one year old it’s going to be fought, so you will need to make the best case possible.

Another fact to realize about whiplash is that it is serious. Even minor accidents can cause significant changes in the delicate nerves, ligaments, muscles and discs of the neck. At onset, the problems may seem minor, but if given enough time without proper care, the spine will malfunction. Eventually arthritis occurs and the end result is permanent neurologic damage and loss of overall health. Worse than arthritis, many whiplash accidents can result in mild forms of brain injury known as “post concussion syndrome” or “traumatic brain injury”. This is more prevalent in side impact collisions, but can occur in rear or front end accidents as well. These concussive injuries often result without hitting the head. Still other researchers have linked Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia with whiplash type injuries. Whiplash is indeed a serious health problem.

Lastly, whiplash must be treated, but not all treatments work. Hard medical evidence suggests that certain types of treatment are far superior at treating this problem than others. Untreated and poorly treated cases of whiplash result in life long problems and suffering. It is estimated that 1% of the entire US population suffers from chronic headaches as the direct result of whiplash injuries. That means millions of headache sufferers.

The problem with whiplash is that many people, including victims, their doctors and even attorneys do not fully understand whiplash. This leads to inadequate treatment and long term pain and disability. This can be avoided if you know the facts and protect yourself.

For more information about whiplash and auto accident related injuries to the back, neck or head, visit

Dr. Marks' site also offers a Free online seminar series, "The Truth About Whiplash" and you may order a Free consumer guide "What You Should Know if You've Been Involved in an Auto Accident." The informative report is free and will be sent to you in the mail.


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