Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Whiplash – What is the Best Type of Treatment?

Whiplash usually occurs when the head is suddenly whipped or snapped due to a sudden jolt, usually involving a motor vehicle collision. However, it can also occur from a slip and fall injury. So the question on deck is, which of the health care services best addresses the injured whiplash patient?

This question was investigated in a published study titled, A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment (Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25). The authors state conventional [medical] treatment utilized in whiplash care, "is disappointing." The authors’ reference a study that demonstrated chiropractic treatment benefited 26 of 28 patients with chronic whiplash syndrome. The objective of their study was to determine which type of chronic whiplash patient would benefit the most from chiropractic treatment. They separated patients into one of 3 groups: Group 1: patients with "neck pain radiating in a 'coat hanger' distribution, associated with restricted range of neck movement but with no neurological deficit"; Group 2: patients with "neurological symptoms, signs or both in association with neck pain and a restricted range of neck movement"; Group 3: patients who described "severe neck pain but all of whom had a full range of motion and no neurological symptoms or signs distributed over specific myotomes or dermatomes." These patients also "described an unusual complex of symptoms," including "blackouts, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting and chest pain, along with a nondermatomal distribution of pain."

The patients underwent an average of 19.3 adjustments over the course of 4.1 months (mean). The patients were then surveyed and their improvement was reported:

group 1
24% Asymptomatic
43% Improved by Two Symptom Grades
13% Improved by One Symptom Grade
6% No Improvement
group 2
38% Asymptomatic
43% Improved by Two Symptom Grades
13% Improved by One Symptom Grade
6% No Improvement
group 3
0% Asymptomatic
9% Improved by Two Symptom Grades
18% Improved by One Symptom Grade
64% No Improvement
9% Got Worse

These findings show the best chiropractic treatment results occur in patients with mechanical neck pain (group 1) and / or those with neurological losses (group 2). The exaggerated group (group 3) was the most challenging and, the only group where a small percentage worsened. The good news is, the number of cases that responded well to chiropractic treatment (groups 1 & 2) far out number those that don’t (group 3). Hence, most patients with whiplash injuries should consider chiropractic as their first choice of health care provision.

If you, a loved one, or a friend is struggling with whiplash residuals from a motor vehicle collision, you can depend on receiving a multi-dimensional chiropractic assessment and therapeutic approach at this office. We sincerely appreciate your confidence in choosing our office for your health care needs!

If you suffer with chronic or acute pain, Please give our office a call at 480-860-6890 for a FREE Consultation!!



That’s a loaded question because not all adjusting techniques that chiropractors use produce the popping noise we associate with “cracking our knuckles.” In fact, some chiropractic adjusting techniques use little force and make no sound. Others may use adjusting tables with drop sections which make so much noise that any sound from the patient’s spine can’t be heard. But many chiropractors do use techniques that create in many instances the popping sound of a spinal “release”.

The Noise, what causes that? A few years ago the mystery may have been solved. A British research team took X-Ray Movies of a person “popping” his knuckles and found that gas (80% carbon dioxide) rushes in to fill a partial vacuum created when the joint surfaces are slightly seperated. It is this displacement of joint fluid which some believe to be the cause of the noise.
(References: Kirkaldy-Willis, WH.(ed) Nanaging Low-Back Pain (2nd edition), Baltimore and London: Williams and Wilkins.
1988, Imrie, D. and Barbuto, L., The Back Power Approach. Toronto: Stoddard Publishing, (1988)

This question is often asked of chiropractors because people associate the cracking or popping of one’s neck with a chiropractic adjustment. The two are not the same thing. If a person has a desire to pop his neck or back it’s usually because a part of his spine is fixated or jammed causing another part to move to much and pop a lot, sometimes by itself. It’s the jammed or fixated part that must be properly adjusted by a chiropractor so that the rest of the spinal column will stop being so movable and noisy.

When you crack or pop your neck you’re relieving tension for a litle while, but not giving yourself an adjustment. After a whle the urge to or crack reappears because the jammed vertebrae hasn’t been corrected.

Old wive’s tales say popping or cracking your joints causes arthritis or makes your knuckles get bigger. There isn’t any research supporting that, but if tension keeps building up in the joints because of spinal imbalance it may not be the popping or cracking that’s bad for you, but the spinal stress and imbalance causing it.


Generally, no.

A subluxation or spinal nerve pressure can be likened to a dental cavity: you may have one developing for a long time with no noticeable symptoms. That’s why perioidic spinal examinations by a chiropractor are so often recommended.

However after a period of time under chirorpactic care some people become much more spine conscious and can actually be able to tell when they’ve lost their adjustment. Often times the effects of spinal nerve stress are gradual and slowly eat away at your well-being in tiny increments, little noticed until they’ve accumulated for a while. It’s been said that although it may be possible to know when you have spinal nerve stress, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t have any. For that reason, an occaisional spinal check-up by a chiropractor is advisable.


Usually just a few minutes to a quarter hour (more or less) after the chiropractor is familiar with the patient’s spine. It all depends on the adjusting technique the chiropractor is using. Sometimes it takes a few hours or even a few days of evaluation and spinal analysis for a new patient to get an initial adjustment. Other times it may only take a relatively brief initial visit, case history and evaluation which can be done the same day.


In a majority of cases the answer is a resounding “yes”!


Many people who have had various kinds of spinal surgery ofter discover a return to their same back problems months or years later. There are so many of these people around that the condition has a special name. “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.” These people can usually receive chiropractic care without worry. Usually the Chiropractic care will save them from future operations. It’s best to check with your chiropractor on a case-to-case basis.


If only it were (Just a little)! There’d be a lot less sick people running (or lying) around and we chiropractors wouldn’t get patients who last saw a chiropractor “A few years ago when my spine went out”. It is possible to get used to feeling more “Balanced”, less stressed, and more energetic as a result of periodic chiropractic care. And you may become more sensitive to your body and know when you’ve “lost” your adjustment. But if that bothers you, no need to worry: stop getting your spine checked, and in time those feelings will fade away.


Of course. Once is better than never. And sometimes a spinal problem may be due to nothing more than a slight spinal misalignment rather than long standing spinal nerve stress (Vertebral Subluxations). In that case one visit may be allthat’s needed.

But chiropractic is really more than a glorified aspirin. It’s best to ask your chiropractor