Punch and throw derived whiplash

Punch & throw derived whiplash from fighting
by Jason Armstrong, Ph.D.

The below is a subsection taken from the book: Karate technique selection & Street Fighting Statistics & Medical Outcomes

whiplash fighting punch neck injury

Event report: Whiplash Symposium organized by UQ Medical & Research Schools

April 2009 report by Dr. Jason Armstrong, 6th Dan, Shihan
I have suffered "whiplash" symptoms a few times over the years in my martial arts training both from impact (punch) and via throws. There is no doubt practitioners of martial arts have a risk of whiplash as a personal injury (some legal stats support this) and it can be similar in nature to those who suffer whiplash in car accidents. I therefore decided to write this report on the medical panel discussion I attended recently.

The panel of whiplash experts included representatives from orthopedic surgery, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, and art therapy, and they discussed the challenges of managing chronic whiplash disorders and optimizing quality of life. The event was presented by University of Queensland and the Spinal Pain, Injury & Health Research Centre and the Spine Society of Australia.
The moderator, Dr. David Buchanan, had experienced whiplash himself, and chaired the event and panel members through a case study of what happens from the point of injury onwards (using a car crash as the example).
Below are the bullets of some of the panel comments:
  • post the event an immediate examination and intervention via early pain & inflammation medication is key – a doctor should prescribe this (when talking about whiplash it is assumed x-rays, MRI etc. have ruled out breaks, dislocation etc. as a first step).

  • if another injury exists (e.g. broken collar bone) this may mask neck/spine pain which can result in the potential whiplash not being recognized in the early hours after the event

  • the panel commented that immediate GP/Hospital visit should be followed on by a physiotherapist visit.

  • if no fracture dislocation is present mobilization (movement) within the limits of pain is key to maintain mobility and assist healing
  • massage/physiotherapy that provokes pain (e.g. Grade 2 manipulation if the pain is still present) may well exacerbate central sensitization and increase problems/long-term issues
  • the psychological component of optimism was stressed for the patient as one of many key contributors to recovery i.e. “We are what we think”
  • if pain still exist 6 week out (with clear x-rays, MRI etc.) the patient should be engaging with a pain medicine specialist and a new diagnosis from the ground up from the event is recommended
For more detail around fighting injuries see:  Karate technique selection & Street Fighting Statistics & Medical Outcomes

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