Case report: Whiplash-associated disorder from a low-velocity bumper car collision: History, evaluation, and surgery

Michael F. Duffy, Wayne Stuberg, Stacey DeJong, Kurt V. Gold, N. Ake Nystrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Study Design. Case report of a patient with a whiplash-associated disorder following a bumper car collision. Imaging studies failed to provide an anatomic explanation for the debilitating symptoms. Objectives. To report a chronic, debilitating pain syndrome after a low-velocity bumper car collision while using complex range-of-motion data for the diagnosis, prognosis, and surgical indication in whiplash-associated disorder. Summary of Background Data. The controversy of whiplash-associated disorder mainly concerns pathophysiology and collision dynamics. Although many investigations attempt to define a universal lesion or determine a threshold of force that may cause permanent injury, no consensus has been reached. Methods. Eight years after a low-velocity collision, the patient underwent surgical excision of multiple painful trigger points in the posterior neck. Computerized motion analysis was used for pre- and postoperative evaluations. Results. Surgical treatment resulted in an increase in total active range of motion by 20%, reduced intake of pain medication, doubled the number of work hours, and generally led to a dramatic improvement in quality of life. Conclusions. This case of whiplash-associated disorder after a low-velocity collision highlights the difficulty in defining threshold of injury in regard to velocity. It also illustrates the value of computerized motion analysis in confirming the diagnosis of whiplash-associated disorder and in the evaluation of prognosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1881-1884
Number of pages4
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004


  • Computerized motion analysis
  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Whiplash injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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