Whiplash: An Injury Substantially More Common In Women Than In Men

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Women are significantly more likely to experience a whiplash injury than men are, and their whiplash injuries tend to be worse. If you're a woman who has been in a vehicle accident and believe you have whiplash, it's essential to get prompt treatment to prevent a chronic pain condition from developing. Contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation if you are unsure how to go about getting reasonable financial compensation from the at-fault driver's insurer.

About Whiplash

This injury typically occurs when the impact of a rear-end vehicle collision propels a person's head backward and then forward. It also occurs during athletic activities and in work accidents. The violent jerking of the head can tear soft neck and shoulder tissues such as muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The main symptom is neck pain, which may not appear immediately. Additional symptoms include back pain, jaw pain, headaches and dizziness. The person may actually suffer a concussion if the brain hits the interior of the skull. 

Risk Factors in Whiplash

Certain aspects increase the risk of this type of injury. If a person doesn't realize an impact is about to occur, they don't have the chance to stabilize the body to reduce injury to the neck. Seeing the approaching vehicle in the rear-view mirror can make a big difference.

A person who is not in good physical condition will have poorer stabilization ability than someone who is more fit. Not having the head restraint in the optimal position also is a risk factor. 

In addition, simply being a woman constitutes a greater risk of a serious whiplash injury.

Women & Whiplash

Women are more prone to this injury because they generally have a smaller skeletal structure and less muscle mass than men do.

Taller people in general have traditionally been at greater risk of whiplash injury in a vehicle because of the way headrests were placed, but manufacturers have improved this feature. Paradoxically, however, short women who tend to sit forward with their head closer to the steering wheel also are at increased risk. When a rear-end impact occurs, their head travels further backward to hit the head restraint than a man's typically does. 

A study published in 1992 notes that women are more than twice as likely to experience ongoing neck pain after a rear-end collision compared with men. 

What You Can Do Now

Seek evaluation from a medical professional. An exercise program designed by a physical therapist can be very effective at resolving whiplash. Massage therapy also can relieve symptoms and promote healing. If you're worried about paying for this type of care or if you're missing work because of your symptoms, contact an injury lawyer for help.