Chiropractic Care for Spinal Whiplash Injuries
SOURCE: J Orthopaedic Medicine 1999; 21 (1): 22–25
By David BenEliyahu, D.C.
Studies on the efficacy of chiropractic care for patients suffering with pain secondary to whiplash injury are appearing in the literature. In 1996, Woodward et al. published a study in Injury on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment of whiplash injuries.  The authors of this 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 with whiplash injuries and found that if patients were still symptomatic after three months, there was almost a 90% chance they would remain so.  No conventional medical treatment has been shown to be effective in these established chronic whiplash injury patients. [3, 4] However, most DCs treating whiplash injury patients have empirically found high success rates in the recovery of these types of patients.
In the Woodward study, 93% of the 28 patients studied retrospectively were found to have a statistically significant improvement following chiropractic care.  Chiropractic care in this study consisted of spinal manipulation, PNF and cryotherapy. Most of the 28 patients had prior treatment with NSAIDs, soft collars and physiotherapy. The average length of time before 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 patients injured in a motor vehicle accident. Symptoms ranging from headaches to neck pain, back pain, interscapular pain and related extremity pain with paresthesias all respond to quality chiropractic care.
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