It's responsible for more than 50,000 soft-tissue injury claims costing close to $500 million in B.C. every year.
And it hurts.
That's why this fall representatives from UBC's Continuing Medical Education began working with doctors in communities throughout B.C. to design a new education program focused on whiplash-related neck and back injuries.
Called the B.C. Whiplash Initiative, the program will be the largest continuing medical education effort in the province's history.
"Management of whiplash is evolving," says Dr. David Lirenman, director of Continuing Medical Education.
"We now recognize that prolonged bed rest and the use of neck collars may actually delay recovery. We're recommending early exercise for most whiplash injuries."
The program will set out the broad range of problems commonly referred to as whiplash and offer a system for classifying symptoms according to severity.
Neck and shoulder pain, headache and dizziness, nerve tingling in the arms, difficulty swallowing, and visual or hearing problems are just some of the symptoms that may be experienced following a whiplash incident.
The program will also cover therapy techniques, guidelines for writing medical-legal reports and suggestions for preventing chronic neck pain.
Organizers expect doctors who have been identified by their peers as effective educators will start conducting 25 half-day and one-day sessions late this fall.
The initiative will also include teleconferences for doctors in rural locations, an interactive Internet site, an expanded whiplash curriculum for undergraduate medical students and one-hour sessions presented by the B.C. branch of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
The program was developed in association with the Faculty of Undergraduate Medical Education, the Dept. of Family Practice, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. It is one of more than 40 different programs offered by Continuing Medical Education.
The initiative is supported through an educational grant from the Insurance Corporation of B.C.