Whiplash Injuries and Injury Management Professionals
Whiplash is a term that has been used fairly loosely to refer to a type of injury where a persons neck is subjected to a sudden force causing it to rapidly accelerate and then decelerate which generally leads to various associated injuries. This type of injury is common in motor vehicle accidents and many injury management professionals working with third party claimants will be familiar with the complaint. Due to journey claims, professionals working in Workers Compensation will often come accross Whiplash Associated Disorders also.
Because so many of our readers come into contact with people suffering from whiplash associated disorders or WAD, we though it would be a good idea to cover, in a very brief form, the current context of recommendatiosn in relation to whiplash injuries.
Quebec Task Force
In 1991 the Canadian car insurance industry was concerened about the imprecise use of the term “whiplash” and the inconsistent treatments which were being used. It set up a task force of experts to investigate the following in relation to whiplash injuries:
- prognosis, and
- treatment recommendations.
A total of over 10,000 publications were reviewed and recommendations were made based on the evidence identified and on consenus arrived at between the experts. The resulted in the Quebec Task Force Guidelines for Whiplash Associated Disorders. Among the recommendations was a classification of the types of whiplash injuries. We have included the classification system below:
WAD O No complaint about the neck. No physical sign(s).
WAD I Neck complaint of pain, stiffness or tenderness only.
No physical sign(s).
WAD II Neck complaint AND musculoskeletal sign(s).
Musculoskeletal signs includedecreased range of motion and
WADIII Neck complaint AND neurological sign(s).
Neurological signs include decreased or absent deep tendon
reflexes, weakness and sensory deficits.
WAD IV Neck complaint AND fracture or dislocation.
This classification system allows for consistency in research and also in applying treatments.
Next week, we will outline how the NSW Motor Accidents Authority has updated the Quebec Task Force and what resources are available for injury management professionals resulting from this research. We will also look at some of the criticism which has been applied to the Quebec Task Force.
Update Quebec Task Force Guidelines for the Management of Whiplash Associated Disorders Jan 2001 Motor Accident Authority of NSW
Picture courtesy of KyleWiTh – Flikr