Car accidents are an unfortunate reality that affects practically everyone today – whether directly or indirectly. There accidents can cause a wide array of injuries.
One of the most common injuries that occurs during an auto collision is whiplash. In simple terms, whiplash is a rapid snapping of the neck forward and backward.
The force of the collision or an abrupt stop pushes your body against the seat and then forward against the seatbelt. Because your head is uninhibited by the seatbelt, it continues moving forward or backward even when the body is already moving the other direction.
Whiplash injuries happen when the neck and head experience hyperflexion or hyperextension (movement past normal physiological limits) which damages the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in that region.
Due to the fact that a whiplash injuries have so many different variables such as speed, vector, force, age, past injuries, and even different system in the body – they are incredibly complex in diagnosis and treatment.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the medical approach includes the following recommendations:
Physical therapy – deals with the muscles and ligaments that have been damaged during a whiplash injury. A Physical Therapist will prescribe exercises to strengthen muscles, improve posture and restore normal movement.
Chiropractic care – specific and gentle adjustments help restore proper motion and position to the spinal bones to facilitate proper healing.
So which of these approaches is best in treating whiplash injuries?
According to Chiro-Trust.org, “In the May 21, 2002 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, a group of PhDs reported on neck pain treatment comparing traditional medical and physical therapy approaches verses spinal manipulation.
In the study, they compared three common neck pain treatment approaches in a group of 183 patients with chronic neck pain (patients who had neck pain for more than three months). The three methods were traditional medical care (which included medication utilization and rest), manual therapy (chiropractic adjustments) and physical therapy (active exercise training). After seven week of treatment, 68.3% of those who received manual therapy/chiropractic care felt either totally resolved (cured) or much improved compared with 50.8% of those in the physical therapy group, and 35.9% in the medical care group.
Study author Jan Lucas Hoving, PhD reported that manual therapy/chiropractic was found to be more effective than the other two methods “…on almost all outcome measure,” not just a few! Further, although PT scored better than traditional medical care, “…most of the differences were not statistically significant,” meaning, not that much better. The authors appropriately reported that further study was needed to better understand the differences between methods.”
“In 2008, the “Decade Task Force” reviewed ten years of studies on the treatment of neck pain and found similar results and referenced many studies that indicated spinal manipulation for neck pain, headaches, whiplash, and other neck-related conditions was one of the most effective methods and that patients with neck pain should be given the option of receiving manual therapy/ chiropractic before other approaches as it was found to be less expensive, faster in obtaining satisfying results (shorter course of disability), and most effective in terms of long-term benefit.”
Although both medical intervention and Physical Therapy can be helpful and timely, the research is clear that the primary course of action for treating whiplash injuries should be chiropractic care.
At Abundant Life Chiropractic, we specialize in neurological based care. Our approach is instrument-based, where we specifically adjust areas of the neck and back that have misaligned during the hyperflexion/hyperextension of the neck. After a thorough exam, we will explain our recommendations for your care based off of motion-study x-rays. Our treatment is non-invasive and helps with treating whiplash without the use of pain medications or surgery.
Schedule an appointment at our clinic today by calling 952-300-8338 for an initial examination!