Whiplash

The Quebec Task Force is comprised by an international group of leading researchers in this area of medicine. The Scientific Secretary of the Task Force is Dr J D Cassidy, a Chiropractor from Canada. This group has published a number of guidelines which address all aspects of whiplash conditions including investigations related to injury mechanisms, treatment efficacy and medico-legal issues. The Task Force has recommended chiropractic care for individuals with whiplash symptoms.

What is Whiplash?

The whiplash motion starts at the time of impact, with the head being thrown backwards whilst the body goes forwards. This movement is known as hyperextension because the muscles and ligaments of the spine get excessively straightened, often suffering damage.

The head may then get thrown forwards, typically if brakes have been applied harshly or the car has come to a sudden stop. This forwards movement is called hyperflexion may cause additional damage.

Common Whiplash Symptoms

The most common symptoms are neck pain and restricted movement. Headache is experienced by up to 75% of whiplash sufferers and is due to injury to the joints, discs, muscles and nerves of the neck region. Lower back pain is also experienced by approximately 60% of individuals.

Less Common Symptoms

Sleep loss, irritability, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, tingling to the arms and legs, depression and “ringing” in the ears are occasionally heard complaints from whiplash patients.

Treatment

Recent studies have demonstrated that maintaining as active a lifestyle as possible results in a quicker recovery. Ice pack to decrease swelling and pain are recommended in the initial stages immediately after the trauma. Later on, heat packs may prove to be comforting to aching muscles. Pain relieving medication will most often be prescribed.

Chiropractic manipulations/mobilisations to restore normal movement in the neck joints, diminish muscular tension and progressive exercises to regain strength and promote healing are among the most documented forms of treatment.