Jaw symptoms and signs and the connection to cranial cervical symptoms and post-traumatic stress during the first year after a whiplash trauma

Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32(24):1987-98. doi: 10.3109/09638281003797323. Epub 2010 May 8.


Purpose: To estimate the prevalence of jaw symptoms and signs during the first year after a neck sprain in a car collision. Further, to determine their relationships to the localisation and grade of the initial neck symptoms and signs, headache, post-traumatic stress and crash characteristics.

Methods: One hundred and forty-six adult subjects and crash characteristics were prospectively investigated in an in-depth study during 1997-2001. Head, neck, and jaw symptoms and signs were recorded within 5 weeks and after 1 year. Acute post-traumatic stress was estimated with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R).

Results: Jaw symptoms were initially reported by three men (5%) and three women (4%), and subsequently developed in eight women (10%) during the following year. Jaw signs were noted initially in 53 subjects (37%) and in 28 subjects (24%) after 1 year, without difference between sexes, and more often after low-speed impacts. Headache in females, cranial cervical symptoms, pronounced neck problems, post-traumatic stress and whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) grade II-III after rear-end impacts were related to jaw signs during the acute phase. After 1 year, jaw signs were related to residual neck problems, headache and post-traumatic stress.

Conclusions: Jaw symptoms are seldom reported during the acute phase after a whiplash trauma. Women more often than men develop jaw symptoms during the first year. Jaw symptoms and signs may develop also after low-speed impacts, especially after rear-end collisions. Jaw symptoms and signs should be observed after whiplash trauma, especially in those with headache, pronounced neck problems, cranial neck symptoms and post-traumatic stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / classification
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Jaw Diseases / epidemiology
  • Jaw Diseases / etiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mastication
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology
  • Neck Pain / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Whiplash Injuries / complications*
  • Whiplash Injuries / rehabilitation