Wednesday, 13 June 2012
What Is WAD? An Introduction to Whiplash Associated Disorders
What is WAD? An Introduction to Whiplash Associated Disorders
Whiplash is a term that is used fairly loosely to refer to a type of injury where a person’s neck is subjected to a sudden force causing it to rapidly accelerate and then decelerate. This motion often leads to various associated injuries ranging from minor strains and bruising to severe neurological damage and permanent impairment.
‘Whiplash’ is most common in motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) and many professionals such as insurers, solicitors and employers working with third party claimants should be familiar with the complaint.
In fact, due to the prevalence and notoriety of MVAs and journey claims, anybody working in any capacity within worker’s compensation will, therefore, often come across the term ‘Whiplash Associated Disorder’.
Because so many of our clients will come into contact with someone suffering from a whiplash associated disorder, in a very brief form, the current context of recommendation in relation to whiplash injuries is seen below to assist with understanding what a whiplash associated disorder actually is and, most importantly, what it implies.
Quebec Task Force
In 1991 the Canadian car insurance industry raised concern regarding the frequent use of the term “whiplash” for any neck injury relating to a motor vehicle accident and the inconsistent treatments which were being recommended and implemented.
The Canadian car industry decided to set up a task force of experts to investigate the following in relation to whiplash injuries:
◦ Risk and occurrence
◦ prognosis, and
◦ treatment recommendations.
A total of over 10,000 publications were reviewed and recommendations were made based on the evidence identified by these experts.
The result was a document entitled the Quebec Task Force Guidelines for Whiplash Associated Disorders.
Among the recommendations was a classification of the types of whiplash injuries;
◦ 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 include decreased range of motion and point tenderness.
◦ 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 supporting prognosis and treatment. Once diagnosis is provided and the classification of WAD is given, the next task is to identify standard recommendations to address the level of injury.
In our next post some of the criticism which has been applied to the Quebec Task Force will be discussed and we will outline what the WAD recommends in terms of prognosis and treatment.
We will also begin to look at how the industry has evolved internationally in response to the WAD classification and what it means within Insurance, Legal and Rehab settings.
This information was taken form Overland Health Website, you can visit their page for more information on http://www.overland-health.co.uk/blog/