Whiplash Around the World


  • Randolph W. Evans MD

    Corresponding author
    1. From the Neurology Section, Park Plaza Hospital and
    2. Departments of Neurology, University of Texas at Houston Medical School and Baylor College of Medicine.
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Dr. Randolph W. Evans, 1200 Binz #1370, Houston, TX 77004.


The term “whiplash” was first used in 1928 by the American orthopedist Crowe, although the earliest use that I can find published was in 1945 by the American orthopedist Davis. Although widely used by the medical profession and public, many physicians find the term objectionable. However, when used appropriately to refer only to the mechanism of injury in a motor vehicle accident, the term can be worthwhile. In any case, “whiplash” is well-entrenched in usage and is here to stay. But what term is used in other languages? Is there a term similar to “whiplash?” To determine terms for whiplash injuries in other languages, members of the American Academy of Neurology living in non-English-speaking countries were contacted by mail. Terms used in 11 other languages are listed. Some comments about whiplash injuries by respondents are excerpted. Further cross-cultural studies may be helpful in studying the influence of physician and popular attitudes, as well as litigation on persistent neck complaints and headaches after motor vehicle accidents.