Chiropractic

Studies Demonstrate Effectiveness of Chiropractic for Whiplash

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Studies on the effectiveness of chiropractic care for patients afflicted with pain secondary to whiplash injury are emerging. In 1996, Woodward et al. published a study on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment of whiplash injuries.

 

The authors of the study were from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Bristol, England. In 1994, Gargan and Bannister published a paper on the recovery rate of patients and found that when patients were still symptomatic after three months, there was almost a 90% chance they would remain injured. No conventional treatment was shown to be effective in these based chronic whiplash injury patients. However, high success rates have been found by whiplash injury patients through chiropractic care in the recovery of these types of patients.

 

Whiplash Treatment Study Results

 

In the Woodward study, 93 percent of the 28 patients studied retrospectively were found to have a statistically significant improvement following chiropractic care. Chiropractic care in this study consisted of PNF, spinal manipulation and cryotherapy. Most of the 28 patients had prior therapy with NSAIDs collars and physiotherapy. The average length of time prior to when the patients began chiropractic care was 15.5 months post-MVA (range of 3-44 months).

 

This study clearly documented what most DCs experience in clinical practice: that chiropractic care is an effective modality for individuals hurt in a motor vehicle accident. Symptoms ranging from headaches to back pain, neck pain, interscapular pain and extremity pain that is related with parasthesias all responded to quality chiropractic care.

 

Normal & Whiplash X-Rays

 

X-ray with Loss of Cervical Curvature

Whiplash MRI Findings

 

 

 

The literature has also suggested that cervical disc injuries aren’t uncommon after whiplash injury. In a study published on chiropractic care for disk herniations, it was demonstrated that not only do patients improve clinically, repeated MRI imaging demonstrates decreased size or resolution of the disk herniation oftentimes. Of the 28 patients studied and followed, many had disc herniations that reacted well to chiropractic care.

 

 

In a recent retrospective study by Khan et al., published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine, on whiplash injured patients with respect to cervical pain and dysfunction, patients were stratified into groups based on levels of good outcome to chiropractic care:

  • Group I: Patients with neck pain only and restricted neck ROM. Patients had a “coat hangar” distribution of pain with no neurologic deficits; 72 percent had a fantastic outcome.
  • Group II: Patients with neurological symptoms or signs and limited spinal ROM. Patients had numbness tingling and parasthesias in the extremity.
  • Group III: Patients had severe neck pain with full neck ROM and bizarre pain distributions from the extremities. These patients often described chest pain, nausea, vomiting, blackouts and dysfunction.

The results of the study showed that in class I, 36/50 patients (72%) reacted well to chiropractic care: in group II, 30/32 patients (94 percent) responded well to chiropractic care; and in group III, only 3/11 instances (27%) responded well to chiropractic care. There was a significant difference in outcomes between the three groups.

 

This study provides new evidence that chiropractic care is effective for whiplash injured patients. However, the study didn’t take into consideration those patients who had back injuries, extremity injuries and TMJ injuries, and did not identify which patients had disc injuries, radiculopathy and concussive brain injury (most likely group III patients). These types of patients respond better with a model of chiropractic care, in combination with providers that are multidisciplinary.

These studies show what most DCs have already experienced, that the doctor of chiropractic should be the principal care provider in these sorts of cases. It’s a common opinion that in cases like the group III patients, care should be multidisciplinary to achieve the best possible outcome in difficult scenarios.

 

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900

 

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

 

Additional Topics: Automobile Accident Injuries

 

Whiplash, among other automobile accident injuries, are frequently reported by victims of an auto collision, regardless of the severity and grade of the accident. The sheer force of an impact can cause damage or injury to the cervical spine, as well as to the rest of the spine. Whiplash is generally the result of an abrupt, back-and-forth jolt of the head and neck in any direction. Fortunately, a variety of treatments are available to treat automobile accident injuries.

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The information herein on "Studies Demonstrate Effectiveness of Chiropractic for Whiplash" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

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