Whiplash is a fairly common condition that occurs when the neck is suddenly forced forwards and backwards, usually from motor vehicle collisions. Before 1928, whiplash was sometimes called “railway spine” as it was used to describe injuries that occurred to people involved in train accidents.
Since 1928, much has been studied and reported about this condition and in 1995, the term, “whiplash associated disorders” or WAD, was introduced. The WAD classification of whiplash patients includes 3 main category (WAD I, II and III) and a few years later, WAD II was broken into 2 sub-categories (WAD I, IIa, IIb, III). This occurred because some patients in WAD II took a longer time to heal than others. Here are the basic definitions of WAD I, II, III at Fairfax Chiropractor:
WAD I: Patients have complaints but no objective findings meaning we cannot reproduce your pain during our examinations
WAD IIa: Patients have complaints with objective findings but a normal range of movement of the neck and no neurological findings (normal strength and sensation ability)
WAD IIb: Same as WAD IIa except here, neck movements are decreased
WAD III: Here, neurological abnormal findings (weakness and/or sensation) are present.
WAD IV: Includes fractures and dislocations. Because of this unique difference, this category is often left out of the research that uses this category system to determine prognosis of the WAD case.