Whiplash Disorders and
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
In car accidents and other trauma related causes, whiplash, formally known as WAD (Whiplash Associated Disorders), has the potential to create significant problems to the neck area or cervical spine. The treatment of these disorders ranges from rest or no care to non-invasive care such as chiropractic, acupuncture or physical therapy to invasive care starting with drugs and leading to surgery. Every one of these treatment modalities is indicated based upon the individual diagnosis of the condition and requires the care from a doctor who is experienced and credentialed in trauma related care.
The problem with whiplash is that it affects the ligamentous attachments that connect the bones to one another and creates hypermobility (too much movement or laxity). It often results in compression of the nerves causing pain and resultant premature degeneration. The biggest problem is that ligaments, as reported in a 2006 study, never heal or wound repair.1 They stay impaired for a lifetime, which affects different people in different ways.
Symptoms from whiplash include:2
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Headaches, most commonly at the base of the skull
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Ringing in the ears
- Sleep disturbances
- Pain spreading to your shoulders or arms
- Painful head movement
- Numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms
When analyzing and comparing non-invasive modalities for care, interventions involving mobilization (chiropractic) were more effective than usual care. Multimodal treatment including manual therapy, which included relaxation therapy, led to a quicker return to work and increased satisfaction with recovery.3
With whiplash and resultant damage to ligaments, one the solutions is quick intervention where the joints are mobilized or put back in their normal position with a chiropractic adjustment before adhesions (internal scar tissue) can create a chronic (long term) problem. By getting the area “adjusted” after a conclusive diagnosis is one of the best approaches to treat whiplash disorders.
These studies along with many others conclude that a drug-free approach of chiropractic care is one of the best solutions for pregnant patients with back pain. To find a qualified doctor of chiropractic near you go to the US Chiropractic Directory at www.uschirodirectory.comand search your state.
1. Tozer, S., & Duprez, D. (2005). Tendon and ligament; Repair and disease. Birth Defects Research (Part C) 75, 226-236.
Studin, M. (2009). U.S. Chiropractic Directory. Retrieved From http://www.uschirodirectory.com.