These 3 Initial Symptoms Are Predictors of Poor Recovery Following A Car Accident
Neck Pain, Headaches and Back Pain All Predict Poor Recovery from a Car Crash
More than 300 persons per 100,000 are seen in emergency rooms for whiplash related injuries from a car crash each year. In the city of Fort Collins that equates to 496 emergency room visits annually for people injured in MVCs (motor vehicle collisions). Not everyone in a car accident will visit the emergency room, in-fact a small % of people in car accidents actually go to the ER.
The average person will be in one car crash for eighteen years they are driving or three MVCs in a lifetime. While not everyone is injured in a car crash, approximately 50% of individuals that are injured in a car crash never fully recover.
Are there signs and symptoms that increase my chance of a poor recovery from a car crash?
Yes, while not everyone is injured in a car crash, and many of those that do get injured do fully recover, there are many initial symptoms that can predict the likelihood of poor recovery. A few of the most common are:
- Having a headache immediately after the crash
- Having low back pain immediately after the crash
- Having neck pain prior to the crash
- High initial neck pain scores
There are two primary methods used to measure neck pain levels. Visual Analog Scale (VAS) which ask patient to rate their pain level on a scale of 1-10 and Neck Disability Index (NDI) which is a series of 10 questions that ask the patient how their current pain levels impact their ability to perform daily activities.
An initial neck pain level of >5.5 on VAS or an initial NDI score >29% (scale 1-100) are high predictors of poor recover.
I bring this up because many people may forgo initially getting treatment after a car accident because they think it will get better on their own. It’s all too often that I see a patient weeks or months after a car accident in Fort Collins when their pain has not gone away. The most important phase of recovery is in the beginning. In fact, individuals who are still in pain 3 months after the initial injury have over a 72% likelihood of never fully recovering.
Although I think it’s highly important for every individual that is involved in a car crash to be thoroughly evaluated by an expert in treating patients involved in car crashes, if you have any of the above initial symptoms (initial headache, initial low back pain, or neck pain greater than 5.5), realized you have increased odds of poor recovery and the soon you start treatment the better your odds of a positive long-term outcome.
If you have been involved in a car crash in Fort Collins give our office a call at 970-207-4463 to schedule an initial evaluation. Dr Gubbels specializes in treating patients injured in car accidents and is the only physician in Fort Collins certified by the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners.