Multiple Auto Injuries: Affect on Recovery
Rear-end car crashes are very common, and some people have been in multiple crashes, which can complicate recovery. This is the first study1 to look at the effect of a previous hyperextension injury on prognosis in a second injury.
The researchers conducted a retrospective study of 79 patients who had suffered two rear-end crashes. An assessment of each patient's symptom severity using the Gargan and Bannister2 classification system was done after the first and second injuries.
Results showed that after the second injury, 84% of the patients reported increased symptoms. In patients who had been without symptoms after the first injury, 97% reported persistent discomfort after the second injury. For those patients who had mild symptoms before the second injury, 87% had worsening of their symptoms following the second trauma. This suggests that the risk of more severe symptoms doubles after a second injury (43% of patients suffer persistent symptoms after a single injury incidence). The authors theorize that, "The increased severity of residual symptoms following a second whiplash injury may result from an increased vulnerability to trauma caused by the first injury." 1
- Khan S, Bannister G, Gargan V, Asopa V, Edwards A. Prognosis following a second whiplash injury. Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured 2000;31:249-251.
- Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Long term prognosis of soft tissue injuries of the neck. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 1990;72B:901-903.