Neck strain in car occupants: injury status after 6 months and crash-related factors

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      In this study, 29 individuals who sustained a neck strain as a result of a car crash were drawn from a group of physiotherapy and general practices and were followed up after 6 months. The aim was to examine relationships between the state of the neck injury at the time of follow up and crash-related factors, notably crash severity and occupant awareness. Crash severity was assessed by measurement of damage to the involved vehicles, while 6-month injury status was established through physical examinations and interviews. No statistically significant associations between crash severity and 6-month injury status were found, but subjects who were unaware of the impending collision had a greatly increased likelihood of experiencing persisting symptoms of and/or signs of neck strain, compared with those who were aware (odds ratio = 15.0; 95 per cent confidence limits: 1.8, 178). While the role of crash severity in the production and duration of neck strains remains unclear, awareness appears to have a strong protective influence and may prove to be a useful prognostic indicator in clinical settings.
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