You may have wondered, “If I get hurt in a car accident, who should I go to for treatment of my whiplash problem?” This can be quite a challenge as you have many choices available in the healthcare system ranging from drug-related approaches from anti-inflammatory over-the-counter types all the way to potentially addicting narcotic medications. On the other side of the fence, there are nutritional based products such as vitamins and herbs as well as “alternative” or “complementary” forms of treatment such as chiropractic, exercise, and meditation, with many others in between. Trying to figure out which approach or perhaps combined approaches would best serve your needs is truly challenging.
To help answer this question, one study reported the superiority of chiropractic management for patients with chronic whiplash, as well as which type of chronic whiplash patients responded best to the care. The research paper begins with the comment from a leading orthopedic medical journal stating, “Conventional [meaning medical] treatment of patients with whiplash symptoms is disappointing.” In the study, 93 patients were divided into three groups consisting of:
Group 1: Patients with a “coat-hanger” pain distribution (neck and upper shoulders) and loss of neck range of motion (ROM), but no neurological deficits;
Group 2: Patients with neurological problems (arm/hand numbness and/or weakness) plus neck pain and ROM loss); and,
Group 3: Patients who reported severe neck pain but had normal neck ROM and no neurological losses.
The average time from injury to first treatment was 12 months and an average of 19 treatments over a 4 month time frame was utilized. The patients were graded on a 4-point scale that described their symptoms before and after treatment.
Grade A patients were pain free;
Grade B patients reported their pain as a “nuisance;”
Grade C patients had partial activity limitations due to pain; and
Grade D patients were disabled.
Here are the results:
Group 1: 72% reported improvement as follows: 24% were asymptomatic, 24% improved by 2 grades, 24% by 1 grade, and 28% reported no improvement.
Group 2: 94% reported improvement as follows: 38% were asymptomatic, 43% improved by 2 grades, 13% by 1 grade, and 6% had no improvement.
Group 3: 27% reported improvement as follows: 0% were asymptomatic, 9% improved by 2 grades, 18% by 1 grade, 64% showed no improvement, and 9% got worse.
This study is very important as it illustrates how effective chiropractic care is for patients who have sustained a motor vehicle crash with a resulting whiplash injury. It’s important to note the type of patient presentation that responded best to care had neurological complaints and associated abnormal neck range of motion. This differs from other non-chiropractic studies where it is reported that patients with neurological dysfunction responded poorly when compared to a group similar to the Group A patient here (neck/shoulder pain, reduced neck ROM, and with normal neurological function). We realize you have a choice in where you go for your health care needs and we truly appreciate your consideration in allowing us to help you through this potentially difficult process.
Chiropractic “Only Proven Effective Treatment” for Chronic Whiplash Study Says 74% of Chronic Whiplash Patients Improved with Chiropractic.
A new study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine1 not only points out the superiority of chiropractic care for chronic whiplash patients, but also examines which chronic whiplash patients respond best to chiropractic care. The authors begin the paper by explaining that: “Conventional treatment of patients with whiplash symptoms is disappointing. A retrospective study by Woodward et al.2, demonstrated that chiropractic treatment benefited 26 of 28 patients suffering from chronic whiplash syndrome.” The question was not whether chiropractic was beneficial for acute whiplash patients, but to determine “which patients with chronic whiplash will benefit from chiropractic treatment.”
In their discussion, the authors made these observations: “Woodward found improvement in chronic symptoms in 26 of 28 patients (93%) following chiropractic treatment. Our results confirm the efficacy of chiropractic, with 69 of our 93 patients (74%) improving following treatment. “The results from this study provide further evidence that chiropractic is an effective treatment for chronic whiplash symptoms.