Whiplash and Chiropractic Care

Whiplash – Known as hyperflexion or hyperextension (hyper means “too much”) injury of the neck due to the body’s reaction to a deceleration or acceleration force such as a auto accident.

Whiplash is common in car accidents, due in part to the fact that the muscles do not have enough time to brace during impact.

Simple cases of whiplash are the result of strain or sprained or dysfunction of ligaments in the neck. The muscles of the neck naturally spasm as a protective mechanism after an injury has occurred. This in turn can cause spinal misalignment which can irritate nerves reducing the body’s ability to heal itself.

Over time the neck area becomes weaker, subject to re-injury and increase symptoms. If not properly treated, scar tissue can form which is weaker then the soft tissue in the area. This in turn can reduce motion and is more sensitive to pain and stress and harder to treat.

Pain, spasm, muscle weakness, or abnormal sensation (such as “pins and needles”) type of symptoms from a whiplash injury are common. Other symptoms of whiplash may be a stiff and/or painful neck, upper back, shoulder(s) area or even headaches.

These symptoms may travel down to the arms, hands, fingers or show as a muscle or grip weakness.

Other symptoms can include memory problems, sleep disorder, vision issues, balance difficulty, dizziness, and vertigo.

Treatment Options:

Chiropractic treatment, muscle work, physical therapy, pain medication and a soft neck collar can provide initial neck pain relief for the simple case of whiplash injury.

Persistent pain that lasts for 1 – 3 months or more may indicate a more severe case of whiplash. This can signify that the whiplash more extensively damaged and/or trapped nerves. Whiplash can also lead to ruptured / herniated disc in the neck (sometimes know as slipped disk).

Long term neck care treatment can includes chiropractic care, correct posture training, muscle work, correct patient stretching and exercises to help strengthen weaken areas.

Ligament damage can take anywhere from 6 weeks up to one year to properly heal, if at all.

Some factors that effect healing of the damage area involves patient’s lifestyle, age, physical conditioning, daily activities, scar tissue formation, medical history, type of accident, and response to care to date.

Many articles been published documenting how chiropractic care can help whiplash patients.

One such article published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine in 1999 pointed out the superiority of chiropractic care for patients suffering from long term whiplash.

The authors of the article noted that a previous study had shown that 26 of 28 patients, or 93 percent, of patients with chronic whiplash benefited from chiropractic care.

In the authors’ own study, they interviewed 100 consecutive chiropractic referrals of patients with chronic whiplash. Their results also showed that of the 93 patients who remained in the study, 69 of them, or 74 percent, found improvement.

“When I was in my late 20’s I was in a minor car accident where I had whiplash that I never realized that it was important to go to the chiropractor. For the next 5 years my neck would lock up for about 2 weeks, twice a year. Since I have been seeing Dr. Mashike that neck problem has stopped and I feel much more healthy. I truly believe that chiropractic care will help me live a longer and healthier life.”

Micheal Scalercio

More Questions?

Do you have any questions about whiplash? Just email or call me at 858-794-4007, and I will be glad to answer your questions promptly or make you an appointment.

Dr. Mark Mashike, D.C.

Image Credit: daveynin